King Juan Carlos’ abdication announcement triggered demonstrations in several of Spain’s main cities on Monday night, all calling for a referendum on the monarchy.
In Madrid an estimated 20,000 gathered. A minority of Spaniards say the time could be right for a change in the institutional functioning of the state after 40 years of democracy .
“What I would like is to be able to choose if we have a monarchy or a republic, that the Spanish people could decide the political system they want. I would personally choose a republic, where even the head of the State is chosen by the people,” said one demonstrator in Madrid.
“It is the right moment for this to happen. And I also believe this is the right moment for the Spanish people to decide about their own future. It is true that during the transition (from dictatorship to democracy) the figure of the King was very important, but I also think that now he is an unnecessary power,” said another.
Although the numbers on the streets ran into thousands, Spain’s ruling people’s Party (PP) and the Socialists which have dominated politics since Spain’s return to democracy, are committed to the monarchy meaning a referendum is unlikely.