Channel NewsAsia

Spanish Senate to vote on king abdication on Jun 17

Spain's Senate will vote on a law allowing the abdication of King Juan Carlos on June 17, the last step before his son Felipe can ascend to the throne, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

MADRID: Spain's Senate will vote on a law allowing the abdication of King Juan Carlos on June 17, the last step before his son Felipe can ascend to the throne, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

"A plenary session will be held on the 17th to debate the law on the abdication," the spokesman told AFP.

Spain's lower house of parliament is scheduled to vote on the bill on Wednesday. With both the ruling Popular Party and opposition Socialists backing Felipe's succession, it is sure to pass.

Spanish lawmakers are then expected to swear in the 46-year-old future King Felipe VI at a ceremony -- to which no foreign dignitaries have been invited -- on June 19, although the date has not yet been finalised.

"Until the law is voted on, there is nothing to confirm," a royal palace spokesman told AFP.

Juan Carlos, 76, announced on June 2 that he will hand over the crown to his more popular son Felipe, saying he wanted to pass the baton to "a younger generation" after several turbulent years in Spain.

The king, who walks with a cane after multiple hip operations, guided Spain from dictatorship to democracy but slumped in popularity in the scandal-tarnished twilight of his reign.

Many Spaniards were outraged that the king took a luxury elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 as they struggled to find jobs in a recession and the government teetered on the brink of a debt default.

Earlier this year, his younger daughter Cristina was named as a tax crime suspect in connection with her husband Inaki Urdangarin's allegedly corrupt business dealings.

Felipe, a tall former Olympic yachtsman, would ascend to the throne at a time when Spain struggles with a 26-per cent jobless rate, a push for independence in the Catalonia region and a spate of protests by those who want the monarchy abolished entirely.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna