Spain: senate seals parliament approval for King's abdication

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Spain’s Senate has approved legislation allowing King Juan Carlos to abdicate this week and hand the throne to Crown Prince Felipe.

The law setting out the abdication’s legal procedures passed on Tuesday by 233 votes to
five with 20 abstentions.

The legislation was approved by the lower house last week.

Juan Carlos will formally ratify the law Wednesday, and his 46-year-old son will be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in parliament on Thursday.

The 76-year-old monarch’s official status will be Captain-General of the Army.

Juan Carlos says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country plagued by economic problems, and royal scandals.

Spain has deployed 7,000 police for the ceremonies but no foreign dignitaries have been invited, in keeping with the hard economic times.

Royal memorabilia bearing the names and faces of Felipe and his wife Letizia have begun appearing in shops.

The couple have two daughters, seven-year-old Sofia and eight-year-old Leonor, who will be the youngest direct royal heir to a throne in Europe.