Spanish protest party ‘Podemos’ in for monarchy abolishment
Tension between pro and anti-monarchy groups in Spain increased to new heights as left-wing party Podemos announced on Thursday it will be joining protesters in future marches across the city. The next protest calling for a referendum on the Spanish monarchy will be on Saturday in Madrid and several cities.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias announced ‘We want to give the word to the people. What is the problem with having a referendum, and what is the problem if the Spanish people have the right to decide what should be our future?
‘Our people will be at the protests that will take place.’
Podemos or ‘We Can’ is a political party created on 11 March this year by leftist activists who are unsatisfied with the ruling parties People’s Party and Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. It took around 8% of the votes in the recent European Parliament Election and won 5 seats, defeating older opposition groups.
Calls for a referendum on the Spanish monarchy sparked across Spain just hours after King Juan Carlos I announced his intention to vacate the throne in favour of his heir and son Crown Prince Felipe. Parliament will vote on a legislation next week that enforces the king’s abdication, a law that is backed by the People’s Party and the Socialist Party.
However, Podemos and the State Republican Board, a coalition of 50 anti-monarchy groups, insist that the ruling parties should submit the decision to seat Prince Felipe as the next king through a popular vote or referendum. Iglesias said ‘If the Popular Party and the Socialist Party believe that Felipe enjoys citizens’ confidence, they should submit this to citizens’ confidence through a referendum.’
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected calls for a referendum. He said that the 1978 constitution that established the form of government was supported by a majority of the people at the time.