Miguel Ángel Aguilar
General Secretary of the Association of European Journalists
The monarchic automatism would have taken us to two consecutive invocations. The first one would have been: The King Juan Carlos has abdicated!; the second one: Long live the King Philip VI! However, according to the usual proceeding, we have witnessed how 36 years after the Constitution, section 5 of article 57 is still waiting to be obeyed. That means that an organic law is missing, the one in charge of solving “abdications and renunciations as well as any doubt about facts or rights happening in the order of succession to the Crown”. Therefore, so many years of paralysis will be suddenly interrupted to turn to a tremendous procedure, which will allow to instantly providing that norm that had been forgotten until now.
The attachment to the summary proceeding taking place had another recent episode when markets were offered a constitutional reform for the sake of guaranteeing priority in the payment of foreign debt. The draft being passed today at the Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting will end up being an Organic Law with just one article, the one referring to the abdication, to avoid any other confusion or delay.
We already know that it will be processed urgently and subjected to single pass. Therefore, in ten days, it could be passed by absolute majority, according to what is demanded for organic laws, since both of the chambers have the committed favour of the seats added from the People’s Party and the Socialist Party, a number surpassing a half plus one of the members of the parliament or the senators.
Let us remember that the legal gap on the order of succession to the Crown brings the cause of coexistence of two opposite attitudes. On one hand, the sudden ones, showed by vice-president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria who bets on a law for each case; on the other hand, the indolent ones, of those opposing to the legislative proliferation. In addition to that paralysing divergence, there is a mistaken respect towards the succession matters, taking into account the special sensibilities that this could imply.
Therefore, we have reached that moment of need and we have realized that we do not have necessary regulations. The decision agreed between Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and what is left of the resigned opposition’s leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, sacrifices all the objectives of the law to the immediacy, because the proclamation of the King Philip VI is planned to be celebrated before this month ends. However, it would have been worth it to use the opportunity to regulate the succession rights in more detail, especially taking into account that there could be news on the Case Noos affecting the Infanta Cristina in a few days.
There is no crowning in the Spanish tradition, but we miss knowing how the King’s proclamation will be, beyond the oath taking place in the joint session of the Congress and the Senate at the Palace of St. Jerome. We do not know which the common public’s role will be, whether foreign dignitaries will be invited or not, and where the residence of the new King and the one for the King who just abdicated will be established. Be alert.