42 ANIVERSARI DE LA CONSTITUCIÓ ESPANYOLA

Monarchy: Inviolability shields an escaped ex king

Felipe VI has one of the most difficult speeches ahead of him this Christmas. He has been forced to mark distances with his father to preserve the Crown, but now he finds himself in a tight corner. Without celebrating a specific referendum on the state model, the 1978 Spanish Constitution preserved the figure of Juan Carlos I in exchange for dispossessing him of the powers he had inherited from the dictator. Now, 42 years later, the monarchy is going through an even bigger critical moment, but the Magna Carta has become a padlock in order for an escaped ex-king to not account for his corruption in front of Parliament.

Article 56.3 of the Spanish Constitution establishes that "the person of the King is inviolable and is not subject to liability". An article that was made thinking, above all, of the alleged crimes that he may commit in exercizing his responsibility, as the former Supreme Court magistrate José Antonio Martín Pallín maintains, brandishing international doctrine. But since the abdication of Juan Carlos I, bipartisanship has held on to the fact that crimes committed until 2014 are not prosecutable. The PSOE, however, has gradually opened Pandora's box, and more so with the entry into Moncloa of a party that sees a "republican horizon": Unidas Podemos.

The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, has already launched the proposal on two occasions to end the inviolability of the king in the Constitution. The last time was in July, but he had already done it in 2018. Moreover, he maintains that Felipe VI would agree with it. The main problem, however, is that to deal with this article there would have to be a constitutional reform with a referendum. In addition to being ratified with the support of a qualified majority of two thirds of the Parliament and the Senate, a referendum and the holding of new Spanish elections would be necessary for the Courts to ratify the decision.

This would involve a major reform for which there is no consensus today. The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, admitted at the beginning of the month that he was not willing to start this. The main fear of the Spanish conservative sectors is that the ratification at the polls will end up becoming a referendum on the state model. There are no official polls on support for the monarchy. Despite the promises, the barometer of the Center for Sociological Research continues to avoid asking about Felipe VI. A poll carried out by 16 independent media in October showed a divided Spain: 40.9% would vote for a republic, and 34% would prefer the status quo.

Elionor's role

For Andreu Mayayo, professor of contemporary history at the UB, Felipe VI must decide whether or not to preserve the Monarchy. And in the face of this scenario, Mayayo argues that he should move to make the conservative sectors understand that a broad constitutional reform in a plurinational sense, which clearly recognizes the diversity of the State, may be the only solution to win a constitutional referendum in order for his daughter Leonor to become the future Queen. Article 57.1 of the Constitution establishes the prevalence of men over women in the right of succession - a discrimination, taking into account that Article 14 establishes the equality of all Spaniards. "Felipe VI can do like his father, compromise to preserve the crown, even if it is against his ideas", concludes the professor.

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