18 June 2014

Spanish abdication bill signed into law

The abdicacion bill was approved in the Spanish senate yesterday (233 in favour, 5 voted against, 20 abstentions).

In a ceremony at the Royal Palace tonight King Juan Carlos signed the abdication bill into law (which was also countersigned by President of the Government Mariano Rajoy). The act will come into effect "from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette",* i.e. at midnight. 160 people attended the ceremony, including King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, the Prince and Princess of Asturias (soon-to-be King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia), Infanta Leonor, Infanta Sofia, Infanta Elena, the King's sisters Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajóz and Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria (the latter with her husband Carlos Zurita, Duke of Soria), the Duke and Duchess of Calabria (the king's first cousin Infante Carlos and his wife Anne, née d'Orleans), the king's aunt by marriage Infanta Alicia, as well as former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes and the former King Simeon of the Bulgarians.

On Thursday morning, 19 June, King Felipe VI will take the oath in the proclamation ceremony before both houses of Parliament. Besides the new king and queen and their daughters the Princess of Asturias (Leonor) and Infanta Sofia, also Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena, Infanta Pilar and Infanta Margarita and members of Queen Letizia's family will be present. King Juan Carlos has decided not to attend so that the new king will get all the attention. The king and queen will observe the military parade from stairs of the Congress building before being driven to the Royal Palace where they will greet the Spanish people from the balcony. The Princess of Asturias, Infanta Sofia, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will also be present.

At 1 p.m. a reception will be held attended by around 2000 people. The English edition of El Pais has given a nice survey of tomorrow's events. In addition the Royal Court has issued a 90 pages long document with all the details about the abdication and the ceremony on Thursday (for the Spanish version, which has 3 more pages, go here).

*Postscript 23 June 2014: It should be added that I based the translation of the abdication act on the draft bill published by the Government on 3 June 2014, where the text of the final provision said «This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette".» In the translation at the Royal Court’s website the final provision reads «This organic law shall take effect when it is published in the "Official State Gazette".» The latter translation was made available after the act was published in BOE.

There is obviously a minor, but still significant, difference between the two translations. The former translation would mean that the then Prince of Asturias became king (as Felipe VI) at midnight on 19 June regardless of when the act was published that day, while the latter clearly says that the succession started from the time of publication. Not much difference in time, though, as the act was published two minutes after midnight.

Even though my understanding of Spanish is limited, it seems to me that the translation at the Royal Court’s website is more accurate. The draft bill’s final provision in Spanish said that «La presente Ley entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el Boletín Oficial del Estado".», while the published act read «La presente ley orgánica entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el «Boletín Oficial del Estado». » The only difference is that the word «orgánica» was added during the process.

Updated on Monday 23 June 2014 at 22:20 (postscript added, last time on Thursday 19 February 2015 (typo corrected).

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