[JURIST] The lower house of the Cortes Generales [official website, in Spanish], Spain’s national legislative body, overwhelmingly approved a law [text, PDF, in Spanish] Wednesday recognizing the abdication of King Juan Carlos and allowing for his son Prince Felipe [BBC profiles] to take his place. Following Juan Carlos’s abdication on June 2 after four decades on the throne, the law was approved with 299 votes in favor and 19 against, with 23 abstentions. Although Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy [official website, in Spanish] stated that “never in the history of the past two centuries has a succession taken place with such normality as this one,” a study [El Pais report, in Spanish] claims that 62 percent of Spaniards want a referendum on whether the monarchy is still necessary. Prince Felipe’s coronation is scheduled for June 18.
The Spanish government approved [JURIST report] a draft of the abdication law on June 3, only a day after Juan Carlos announced he would be stepping down. Many representatives from the Catalonia region were among those who abdicated from the parliamentary vote, claiming that the Spanish monarchy has been apathetic to their concerns. The Cortes Generales in February rejected [JURIST report] a proposed referendum on whether Catalonia should be allowed to form an autonomous community or an independent state. Juan Carlos’ abdication comes in the wake of corruption scandals [TIME backgrounder] that have undermined public trust in the monarchy. In September the Cortes Generales approved [JURIST report] a freedom of information law to help combat the country’s rising institutional corruption.