|Abdication statement of King Juan Carlos of Spain, handed to the President of the Government this morning.|
“Su Majestad el Rey Juan Carlos acaba de comunicarme su voluntad de renunciar al trono y abrir el proceso sucesorio.”
"His Majesty King Juan Carlos has just informed me that he wishes to give up the throne and open the succession process."
With these words, the President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, announced the abdication of King Juan Carlos I of Spain just after 10.30am today.
The announcement came as a surprise to most people, even though the King had been suffering from ill-health for some time, with a number of hip operations. The King wishes his son, Prince Felipe of Asturias to succeed him on the Spanish throne, although a constitutional anomaly prevents this from happening automatically.
The King was credited with helping smooth the key period in the late 1970s and early 1980s – between the end of the Dictatorship, after General Franco died, and the beginning of the Democracy – known as the Transition. He has reigned for 39 years.
Zarzuela Palace, June 2, 2014
“For the appropriate constitutional procedures, I attach the statement that I read, sign and entrust to the Prime Minister of the Government by this act, and with which I communicate to him my decision to abdicate the throne of Spain”.
The 76-year-old king later made a statement live on TV, in which he explained that when he reached his 76th birthday in January, he decided it was the right time to step down. He also said the following:
“I want the best for Spain, to which I have dedicated my whole life. I have decided to abdicate my crown to give way to a new generation embodied by my son Felipe, heir to the throne. I keep, and will keep, Spain forever deep in my heart.”
Of his son and heir to the throne, Felipe, he said, he "has the maturity, preparation, and sense of responsibility necessary to assume the title of head of state and open a new era of hope which combines the experience and momentum of a new generation".