Politics 23/05/2022

Juan Carlos I already at Royal Palace

Spanish government criticises former king: "He has wasted an opportunity to ask for forgiveness"

2 min

MadridFormer Spanish hing Juan Carlos's weekend of leisure in Sanxenxo without giving explanations about his corrupt past was not what the Spanish government was hoping for. Quite the contrary. In fact, Juan Carlos joking about not having to give explanations was the tipping point, and government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez openly attacked the former king on RNE this Monday morning: "He has wasted an opportunity that Spaniards had been waiting for, to give explanations, to ask for forgiveness. Undoubtedly, he has wasted the opportunity Spanish society deserves, but also democracy [deserves]", he said.

These words heighten the already high tension around Juan Carlos's visit to his son, reigning king Felipe VI, in the Royal Palace. Juan Carlos has been forbidden from staying at the Palace during his trips in Spain, but along the access road dozens of people with Spanish flags gathered to greet him. The Royal Household seems to be losing control over the former king, and Rodriguez has made the government's discomfort with the situation explicit.

"He should have taken advantage of this visit, this presence in the country [...] to account for those actions that we have learnt of and that are not compatible with the exemplarity and transparency required of an institution such as the Royal Household", Rodríguez said. The Royal Family has remained silent about Juan Carlos's attitude and about the Spanish government's anger, while Juan Carlos I pretends that nothing happened and expects "hugs" from his family during the meal they will share this Monday. It remains to be seen whether the Royal Household will provide images of the private meeting, since it does not appear in the King's official agenda.

The Spanish government has attacked Juan Carlos I and portrays him in contrast with Felipe VI, of whom he assures he is doing a "formidable exercise to recover the essence which must prevail in a State institution: transparency and exemplarity". Unidas Podemos, on the other hand, attacked the institution itself: "The problem is not that the king emeritus jokes about the explanations he has to give. The problem is that he can do it because he enjoys impunity and anyone who holds that position can do it again. A republic is the only solution", tweeted the Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra.

The PP: "It wasn't the right time" to visit Juan Carlos I in Sanxenxo

Meanwhile, the PP contributes in its own way to preserve the monarchy without publicly criticising the former head of state. This weekend the party's Galician congress was held in Pontevedra, and state leaders, including leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo, coordinator general Elías Bendodo, or Spanish parliament's deputy speaker Ana Pastor. Despite being close to Sanxenxo, no one went to greet Juan Carlos I. PP sources admit that "it was not the right time" and reluctantly recognise Juan Carlos's behaviour was not at its best.

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