[QODLink]
Europe

Spain's king makes rare public interview

Juan Carlos's first public interview in more than a decade is seen as bid to repair monarchy's image hurt by scandals.
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2013 02:27
King Carlos said that unity was vital for Spaniards to weather the economic crisis [Reuters]

Spain's King Juan Carlos has made his first public interview in more than a decade, which was seen as a bid to repair the monarchy's image that was damaged last year by scandals over his elephant-hunting in Africa and a corruption probe implicating his son-in-law.

In the broadcast on national television channel on Friday, Carlos reiterated his call for Spaniards to unite in order to pull through the economic crisis that has thrown millions out of work and into poverty.

"I am on good form, with energy and above all hope to move forward and face the challenges we have ahead, seeking the maximum consensus between Spaniards to be able to face them," he said in the pre-recorded interview to mark his 75th birthday.

"Millions of families cannot live with dignity and this is making young people have to leave Spain to seek work, to seek what they can. This pains me very much," he said.

"I see that Spain has serious problems with the economic crisis, but above all I see a will to move forward despite all that is happening."

He made a tacit swipe at a drive by the Catalonia region to break away from Spain, a by-product of the crisis that has increased tensions, which he branded "breakaway politics".

"In this time, what Spain needs is unity and for us all to be united."

The king, who had recently relied on crutches after having both hips replaced, appeared relaxed and seated in his private office in the latest interview.

Falling popularity

The first was a corruption case against his son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin, the duke of Palma, who appeared in court over the charges in February.

The second was an expensive game-hunting trip the king made to Botswana, seen as an unacceptable extravagance while Spain suffered in a recession.

Juan Carlos, who turns 75 on Saturday, won wide respect for helping guide Spain to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, and helping to quell an attempted military coup in 1981.

A generation after those historic events, a poll published Thursday by El Mundo newspaper showed only half of people expressed a positive judgement of his reign, compared with three-quarters a year ago.

The poll found that nearly 58 percent of people aged between 18 and 29 said they thought a monarchy was not the best form of governance for Spain.

El Mundo suggested that people of this generation do not share their parents' reverence for the king since they "did not live through the transition and are not very interested in it".

428

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.