Clench your teeth...

Aversion to reform and a lack of accountability tend to exacerbate popular discontent

… and get to live another day. And before you know it, the whole thing will have blown over. Such is the default media and political strategy being pursued to end the institutional crisis triggered by King Juan Carlos’ flight from Spain in order to dodge a Swiss prosecutor’s probe into a money laundering racket.

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez is keen to put an end to the matter, thus sparing himself the trouble of having to explain to the general public how the King Emeritus’ departure was agreed upon, what his current whereabouts are, who is footing the bill of his security detail and what guarantee there is that King Juan Carlos will appear in court, if summoned. Sánchez is trying to hide behind the idea that “you are supposed to judge people, not institutions” and the fact that the substance of his meetings with King Felipe is “confidential”.

Needless to say, the Spanish leader believes that “the constitutional pact remains fully in force” and who wouldn’t fancy a beach day? After all, it’s been a tough year and it’s August. The downfall of the former head of state may come back to haunt us: Unidas Podemos, Sánchez’s coalition partner, has been blatantly left out of the game and the political parties that represent the establishment have closed ranks to guarantee the continuity of our times. King Felipe has preventatively toured across Spain keeping a low profile and the pandemic —plus the fact that it’s August— might distract the public opinion. Yet the looming recession and the outrage caused by the royal flight could elicit a reaction the likes of which we haven’t seen for a long time.

The history of Spain has shown us that aversion to reform and a lack of accountability tend to exacerbate popular discontent.