Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Spanish king's popularity plummets as royals face crisis

Poll shows public opinion in Spain turns against King Juan Carlos in favour of his son Felipe, reflecting the toll taken on the king by gaffes, friendships with young women and royal family corruption allegations.

MADRID // Public opinion in Spain has turned against King Juan Carlos in favour of his son Felipe, a new opinion poll shows, reflecting the toll taken on the king by gaffes, friendships with young women and royal family corruption allegations.

The survey for El Pais newspaper showed 53 per cent disapproved of the 75-year-old king, giving him an overall approval-versus-disapproval rating of -11, compared to +21 in December. Prince Felipe's rating also fell but remained broadly favourable at +28, compared to +37 in December.

Juan Carlos's jet-set lifestyle and close friendships with young women, as well as a corruption investigation centred on his son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin, have left weary Spaniards sick of their royal family.

The poll was carried out before Princess Cristina, Urdangarin's wife, was charged last Wednesday with helping her husband in crimes that include fraud, tax evasion and embezzling €6 million (Dh28.6m) from a charity.

By contrast, Felipe, 45, has not been touched by any of the royal family's scandals, and has benefited from an image as an active promoter of Spain. A poll in January found 45 per cent of Spaniards wanted the king to hand over to him.

The king led the country's transition to democracy in the 1970s and won huge popular support after defusing an attempted coup in 1981, but has increasingly appeared out of touch in a country with 26 per cent unemployment.

His image was hurt when it was discovered he had been elephant hunting in Botswana last April while Spain looked close to requesting international financial aid.

The Metroscopia poll, which asked 2,400 people how they rated certain institutions, was carried out last month.

"We can see from the Metroscopia poll that the king has particularly lost support among socialist voters and young people," El Pais said. Those aged 18 to 34 gave the king a rating of -41.

The poll also showed general dissatisfaction with political institutions, with only 19 per cent of those surveyed approving of the government and 93 per cent disapproving of politicians.

If a general election was called now, the ruling centre-right People's Party would receive just 24.5 per cent of the vote compared to the 44.6 per cent they received in the November 2011 election, while their socialist rivals would take 23 per cent, a separate poll published in El Pais showed.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National