Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monarchy Profile: Spain

Name: The Kingdom of Spain
Reigning Monarch: His Majesty King Felipe VI
Reigning Family: House of Bourbon
Status: The Kingdom of Spain in its current form grew out of the regime of General Francisco Franco who ruled Spain for 30 years. Two days after his death, in accordance with his wishes, Prince Juan Carlos became King of Spain in 1975. At once he set about implementing the transition from dictatorship to parliamentary democracy. This outraged Franco loyalists but changes went ahead with the first elections held in 1977. In 1978 a new constitution was enacted, recognizing the historic right of Juan Carlos to the throne (not simply as the choice of Franco) and the King relinquished his absolute power and became a constitutional monarch. Still, the respect the King commanded and the popularity he won by making Spain a democracy meant that the King had a great deal of influence despite relatively few powers in law. This was tested in 1981 when a military coup was launched in an effort to restore the old regime. King Juan Carlos suppressed it when most of the army obeyed his orders which won him even greater popularity. However, since that time his influence has declined somewhat, particular with the rise of regional separatists and the increasing dominance of socialist politicians opposed to the monarchy. Laws require royal assent but the King is not allowed to refuse to give it.

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