King Of Spain Unexpectedly Abdicates The Throne

Spain's King Juan Carlos (R) and Spain's Crown Prince FelipeREUTERS/J.J. Guillen/PoolSpain’s King Juan Carlos (R) and Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe wait for a meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (unseen) at Zarzuela palace in Madrid January 8, 2014.

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has just announced that the king of Spain Juan Carlos, 76, will unexpectedly abdicated the throne.

His son, Crown Prince Felipe, 46, will take over the role. The government must now craft a law creating a legal mechanism for the abdication as well as for Felipe’s assumption of power.

There are two competing storylines for why Juan Carlos, who has had health problems in recent years, was ultimately forced out.

The Spanish royal family has been in scandal for some time due to the King’s alleged affairs and excessive spending, while the country has remained mired in a terrible economy.

The other story is that there’s a rise of an anti-monarchist element in Spain that did well in the last election, forcing some kind of big institutional change.

King Juan Carlos came to power in 1975, two days after the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco, and oversaw Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.

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