King defends monarchy amid growing criticism

2nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 October 2007, OVIEDO - King Juan Carlos defended the monarchy against growing criticism, saying it had contributed to "the longest period of stability and prosperity in democracy experienced by Spain."

2 October 2007

OVIEDO - King Juan Carlos defended the monarchy against growing criticism, saying it had contributed to "the longest period of stability and prosperity in democracy experienced by Spain."

Speaking at the opening of a university term in the northern city of Oviedo, the monarch said young people should be taught about "democratic coexistence, mutual understanding and respect, tolerance and freedom."

The king's comments took on a special relevance at a time when anti-monarchist protests staged by Catalan separatists have multiplied in the north-eastern region.

Small groups of radical separatists have burned pictures of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Attempts by the judiciary to stem such protests have backfired, prompting new rallies.

Separatist and far-left parties have also accused the royal family of lack of financial transparency. The Catalan separatist party ERC proposed that the prime minister head the armed forces instead of the king.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government has sided with the monarchy, stressing its solid position and the need to express any disagreements in a polite and respectful manner.

King Juan Carlos has enjoyed widespread popularity since thwarting a coup attempt in 1981. The 69-year-old monarch is credited with helping to strengthen democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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