A dictionary of Spanish history and culture
Juancarlismo is basically support for King Juan Carlos, though not necessarily for the monarchy as an institution. This is no small measure due to his role in the transition and to the weakness of the Opposition during the transition. It was believed by the major political parties on the Left that support for Juan Carlos and the monarchy in 1977 was the only way of bringing about democratic change. This is justified by saying he “reigns not governs”, which is a break with the tradition of all previous Spanish monarchs. It is perhaps encampsulated by Communist leader Santiago Carrillo saying “We are almost all Monarchists now” after the king’s role in quashing the failed 1981 coup-d’etat.
- Popular king who quashed a coup falls from favour with his subjects (The Times) “Polls show that most Spaniards like and respect the King, who, despite his lavish lifestyle and playboy reputation, has managed to cultivate an image of a grandfather and an ordinary family man. However, in a country that has always harboured a strong republican streak, analysts say that that affection does not extend to the institution itself. Many Spaniards pointedly call themselves juancarlistas – supporters of Juan Carlos – rather than monarchists.
“There’s always been a strong republicanism in Spanish society, but until now it hasn’t been a political issue,” Alejandro Quiroga, professor of Spanish history at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, said. “Now it is becoming one, more and more.”
The biggest worry for the King, who will turn 70 in January, is that his successor does not enjoy his level of public support. Many Madrid residents groused about the expense and inconvenience that surrounded Prince Felipe’s lavish wedding in 2004 to Letizia Ortiz, a divorced former television journalist. Others have questioned his fitness to rule. “
- Role in contemporary Spanish politics (Wikipedia)” The election of socialist leader Felipe González to the Spanish prime ministership in 1982 marked the effective end of Juan Carlos’ active involvement in Spanish politics. González would govern for over a decade, and his administration helped consolidate the democratic gains initiated by Juan Carlos and thus maintained the stability of the nation. Today the King exercises little real power over the country’s politics, but is regarded as an essential symbol of the country’s unity. Unlike many other European monarchs, under the constitution, the King has immunity from prosecution in matters relating to his official duties. This is so because every act of the King as such (and not as a citizen) needs to be undersigned by a government official, thus making the undersigner responsible instead of the king. Offenses against the honour of the Royal Family are specially protected by the Spanish Penal Code. Under this protection, Basque independentist Arnaldo Otegi and cartoonists from El Jueves were tried and punished. He gives an annual speech to the nation on Christmas Eve. He is the commander-in-chief of the Spanish armed forces. He does however have informal powers such as giving speeches. This has been known to cause controversy when he spoke in order to see the handing back of Gibraltar in 1991 at the United Nations General Assembly, during which he described the issue as an unresolved colonial problem which affects Spain’s territorial integrity.In 1979, King Juan Carlos I instituted the Ruta Quetzal as a way to promote cultural exchange between students from Spain and Latin America. In 1987, he became the first King of Spain to visit the former Spanish possession of Puerto Rico.He travels across Spain and the world representing Spain. His personal friendship with Hassan II of Morocco has eased tensions. In November 2007 at the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago de Chile, during a heated exchange, Juan Carlos interrupted a speaking Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and asked him, “¿Por qué no te callas?” (“Why don’t you shut up?”). Chávez had been interrupting the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, while the latter was defending his predecessor and political opponent, José María Aznar, after Chávez had referred to Aznar as a fascist and “less human than snakes”. The King shortly afterwards left the hall when President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua accused Spain of intervention in his country’s elections and complained about some Spanish energy companies working in Nicaragua. This was an unprecedented diplomatic incident and a rare display of public anger by the King
Keywords:what is Juancarlismo?