Features > A nation in need of reinvention

05 June 2014 | by Jimmy Burns

A nation in need of reinvention

King Juan Carlos’ decision to step down this week shook Spain and provoked anti-monarchy demonstrations. Can his son, Felipe, stabilise and reunite a fragmenting society? King Juan carlos, then a young and as yet untested monarch, in November 1975 addressed the Spanish people and promised to heal old wounds. He had to take over as head of state two days after the death of General Francisco Franco, post-war western Europe’s last surviving dictator, who had kept a repressed Spain in the political doldrums for more than 35 years since emerging victorious in 1939 from a bloody civil war.The fact that Franco had proclaimed Juan Carlos – whom he had educated as an army officer while prince – as his successor, rather than the exiled father Don Juan, at the time raised se


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