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Spain: thousands call for monarchy referendum

Spain: thousands call for monarchy referendum
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Thousands of anti-monarchy protesters have rallied in the Spanish capital calling for a referendum to decide whether Spaniards want a monarchy or a republic.

Spain’s red, yellow and purple republican flag was displayed prominently in Madrid.

As King Juan Carlos gets ready to abdicate, many want the monarchy to be abolished.

A corruption scandal in the royal family and the King’s health issues after repeated surgery in recent years have also eroded public support for the monarchy.

“We want to be citizens not subjects,” said a protester in Madrid. “In a republic we can demand accountability to the president and we can’t with this one [King Juan Carlos]. We don’t want to be ruled by a family as corrupt as the Bourbons. A republic is cheaper as well,” she added.

The demonstration in Madrid was mirrored in more than 40 cities across Spain, joining thousands under the same slogan, “Referendum Now”.

A woman at the Galician demonstration explained: “Today we want to demand our right to choose so we can decide if we want a monarchy or republic and what kind of country we want to build.”

Younger Spaniards appear increasingly republican. A poll at the start of 2013 showed more than 57 percent of young people rejected the monarchy.