Spain's Prince Felipe set to become king

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe with his father King Juan Carlos. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe with his father King Juan Carlos. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Spain's Prince Felipe will probably succeed his father Juan Carlos as king after June 18, parliament speaker Jesus Posada said, a day after the long-reigning monarch announced he would abdicate.

Juan Carlos said on Monday he would hand over the throne to Felipe in a move aimed at rehabilitating the scandal-hit Spanish monarchy at a time of economic hardship and growing discontent with the wider political elite.

Spain does not have precise rules regulating abdication and succession and the transition is set to be accomplished via legislation in parliament after the cabinet passed a two-point bill to lawmakers earlier on Tuesday.

The lower house of parliament will vote on the bill, which both the governing conservative People's Party and the opposition Socialists have said they would back, on June 11, after which it must be passed to the upper house, or Senate.

"We will see, but I believe that everything should be sorted out by June 18 so that the solemn proclamation can take place before the chambers (parliament and senate)," Posada said.

An official date for the coronation has still to be set.

The once-popular Juan Carlos, 76, who spent almost 40 years on the throne, helped smooth Spain's transition to democracy in the 1970s after the Francisco Franco dictatorship but seemed increasingly out of touch in recent years.

A corruption scandal in the family and his visible infirmity after repeated surgery in recent years have also eroded public support for Juan Carlos. Polls show greater support for Felipe, 46, who has not been tarnished by the corruption allegations. 

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