Factbox: Spain divided over former king Juan Carlos' abrupt departure


  • World
  • Tuesday, 04 Aug 2020

FILE PHOTO: Former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, leaves after attending the funeral ceremony of Luxembourg's Grand Duke Jean at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg, May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Former king Juan Carlos has decided to leave Spain amid a cloud of scandal, with local media reporting he is in the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors in Geneva and Madrid are investigating alleged financial misconduct, though Juan Carlos, who has repeatedly declined to comment on the matter, is not formally under investigation in either country.

Here are some reactions:

PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE

"We declare absolute respect for what lies behind the royal household's decision, which is to create distance from alleged questionable, reprehensible behaviour on the part of a member of the royal household."

"Institutions should not be judged, people should be judged. In this case, Juan Carlos has said clearly he is at the disposal of the legal system if necessary, just like any other Spaniard."

"I think the response is fitting of a robust democracy."

RETIRED MADRID RESIDENT SANTIAGO PRADAS

"It's an injustice what they're doing. They're not being fair. There are many politicians, many parties, who have stolen three times as much."

MADRID RESIDENT RAUL, 28

"I think it's an escape, like running away, a dishonourable escape ... He's a guy who has taken business commissions out of Spain and it's a dishonourable escape."

PABLO MONTESINOS, CONSERVATIVE PEOPLE'S PARTY LAWMAKER, ON TELECINCO TV

"Today Spain is more free, more democratic and stronger as a nation thanks to the key role played by King Juan Carlos."

"We respect judicial procedures, we respect and value the presumption of innocence. We call for unity around the head of state and the constitutional monarchy, today more than ever we must be at (the king) Don Felipe's side."

PABLO SIMON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR AT MADRID'S CARLOS III UNIVERSITY

"Both partners (in Spain's coalition government) want to differentiate themselves in the way they talk about this issue."

"This won't be a problem for government policy, they will just highlight their differences. Podemos will try to set out a much more Republican profile to keep their voters happy because on the economic side they won't be able to do that."

CATALAN LEADER QUIM TORRA IN A PRESS CONFERENCE

"I denounce the flight of Juan Carlos de Borbon, which was tolerated by the Spanish government ... It should make any democrat ashamed, it calls into question the government and the monarchy's commitment to accountability."

"In the words of the Catalan parliament, I ask King Felipe VI to abdicate to give Spanish society an opportunity to get out of this hole."

EQUALITY MINISTER IRENE MONTERO ON CADENA SER RADIO

"I believe that in Spain there is a widespread feeling among the population that justice is not the same for everyone."

"That the institution (of the monarchy) itself endorses the decision of the King Emeritus to flee Spain puts the institution in a very delicate situation ... It leaves the monarchy in a very compromised position, no one in Spain can separate the actions of king Juan Carlos from his position as monarch and therefore from the Borbon family."

JOSE JUAN TOHARIA, POLITICAL ANALYST AT METROSCOPIA

"King Felipe acted with clarity and decision at the right moment, even though it was very difficult for him. He said he cares for (his father Juan Carlos) very much but the law and constitutional standards come first."

"In the Bible there is a saying that the father will not answer for the sins of the son and the son will not answer for the sins of the father, and this explains very well what Spaniards think."

PAZ RODRIGUEZ, MADRID RESIDENT

"I think he's running away like a coward. He should admit what he has done and be upfront about it."

ROMAN FERNANDEZ, MADRID RESIDENT

"I think the position of the monarchy was already weak. I don't understand the monarchy's role these days because we are living in a different time. For me the monarchy should be abolished."

MANUELA FERNANDEZ, RETIRED MADRID RESIDENT

"I don't think it's wrong for him to leave, he has the right to do it if he wants to leave. However, if he's leaving because he is running away from the issue I don't like it."

(Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez, Michael Gore, Isla Binnie, Nathan Allen, Paola Luelmo, Marco Trujillo, Joan Faus; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Giles Elgood, Alexandra Hudson and Mike Collett-White)

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