Monarchy's discredit
Politics 08/03/2022

Sánchez considers ex king's letter insufficient: "He owes an explanation to the Spanish people"

Spanish president avoids putting forward measures to improve the monarchy's popularity

2 min
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, at an event on 8-M this Monday in Madrid

MadridThe letter from Juan Carlos I to Felipe VI is not enough for the Spanish government. So said president Pedro Sánchez in an informal conversation with journalists in Latvia, where he is visiting Spanish troops. According to Efe, Sánchez insisted that the former monarch "has to clarify the information that has come to light", which he described as "disappointing". In the letter – known to the Spanish government – in which he announced he would remain in Abu Dhabi, Juan Carlos I limited himself to "sincerely" regretting the "transcendence for public opinion of the past events" of his "private life".

At the Socialist Party's congress in Valencia last October, the Spanish president said the former king ought to give explanations about the Public Prosecutor's Office's investigations, a position he maintains after the Public Prosecutor decided he had committed offences. Sánchez did not announce any measures tom improve the king's image, although over a year ago he announced that he would undertake initiatives to "modernise" the institution. However, he pointed out that the measures must be agreed with the Royal Household.

Shortly before, the socialist spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Héctor Gómez, had further played down possible legal changes. "This parliament is marked by supervening situations of enormous gravity. The priorities are very clear. The president is focused on the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the challenge to the international community. This will be the main concern", said Gómez at a press conference in the lower house. For the Socialists, the judiciary is the "guarantor" that "there will always be a response to any anomaly", despite the fact that the Public Prosecutor's Office has made it clear that if it has not been possible to file a complaint against Juan Carlos I it is because the investigation was too late – the crimes had prescribed – or because he was protected by an extensive interpretation of the monarch's inviolability.

Unidas Podemos's Minister of Equality has expressed a different position from that of her government partner this Tuesday: "I have the feeling that there are more and more people in our country who have a clear awareness that justice does not work the same for everyone," said Irene Montero in an interview on TVE. Criticism of the emeritus and calls to modify laws to prevent the monarch's activity outside the institutional sphere from going unpunished again have been the protagonists of the appearances of different spokespersons in the Spanish Parliament. The PNV's Aitor Esteban described as "a real shame" and "scandal" everything that surrounds Juan Carlos I and has considered that the absolute inviolability of the head of state is an "anomaly of what is a democratic state".

CUP asks him to appear

Republican parties have repeatedly failed to call for a commission of inquiry on the emeritus and this Tuesday the CUP has directly requested that Juan Carlos I appear. "Since the courts cannot judge the embezzlement due to inviolability, at least he should come to Parliament to explain what he did," said MP Mireia Vehí. EH Bildu has downplayed the former monarch's decision to stay in Abu Dhabi – has stated that it is his right – and has asked "all members of the Royal House be evicted of Zarzuela Palace". "We don't care where they go", said the deputy Oskar Matute, who said that the monarchy is legitimised if it is useful and exemplary, but that neither of the two assumptions are given.