Spaniards Call for Monarchy Referendum
People participate in a rally in support of the end of monarchy in Spain following the Spanish King Juan Carlos` abdication announcement. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Thousands of Spaniards gathered in the capital Madrid to call for a referendum on the future of the monarchy.
In total, more than 60 rallies were staged across the country, shortly after King Juan Carlos, who had ruled since 1975, announced his decision to abdicate. Demonstrators waved republican flags and shouted slogans against the monarchy.
Although the King was a popular figure among the majority of Spaniards, recent corruption scandals in the royal family, as well as the ongoing economic crisis have shifted public opinion. Many people now see the monarchy simply as an excess cost amidst high unemployment.
No major incidents were reported at the rallies. Police blocked the area around the Royal Palace, where a group was trying to stage its protest.
Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded that a referendum on the monarchy would be unconstitutional. In his opinion, the royal support still dominates the public.
The country's main political parties are also in favor of the monarchy, which would make a referendum even less likely.
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