On June 3, Press TV conducted an interview with journalist and political commentator Hamid Golpira about Spanish King Juan Carlos’ recent decision to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Felipe.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: I’d like to get your opinion on the monarchy by itself, what it stands for. In the 21st century, we still have kings who have crowns that they can pass on to generations to come.
A: Well, it is a throwback to the Middle Ages in a way, and some of these royal families are actually the same families from the Middle Ages, which is unfortunate. The only good thing about it is that in Europe they are constitutional monarchies instead of absolute monarchies, which they used to be. But at the same rate, the government, which is getting its money from the citizens’ taxes, the average taxpayer, is funding these people. So they have security, they have housing, they have palaces, they pretty much have a free ride. And the monarchs, whether they be kings or queens or princes of principalities, they are officially the head of state, each of them is the head of state of their country, whether it’s a constitutional monarchy or not. So, it is a problem, especially for the average citizen, the fact that all of this funding is being wasted, and especially at a time when there is some kind of depression or economic recession.
Q: Indeed. As you just pointed out, Spain is going through austerity cuts right now. There is a very staggering unemployment rate in the country, and the monarchy is living off the public purse quite literally. Now, King Juan Carlos is hoping that he can revitalize the monarchy through his abdication. Do you think that will happen, or will we see more anti-monarchist sentiments simmering in Spain as this recession continues?
A: I think for sure there will be more anti-monarchist protests. And some of this, maybe we have to put this in some historical context. Like how did Juan Carlos become king of Spain? Well, he became king when the previous government, the government of the fascist dictator [Francisco] Franco, they basically decreed that after Franco died, the former royal family would come back in. And that’s how King Juan Carlos came in, and that’s the history of that. And the history of how the fascist dictatorship that put this royal family back in power, how the Franco dictatorship came into power, was that they were allied with all kinds of right-wing forces, even the Nazis helped them. And there is the famous Guernica incident, there were many attacks on civilians, there was severe repression from the 1930s until the 1970s. And the only reason that fascist Franco didn’t go out in World War II, at the same time that Mussolini in Italy and the others were driven out, was because Franco and Spain… in World War II, they were officially neutral, although they had had an alliance before with the Nazis, who actually helped them come to power. At the same time, at that time there was a big Republican movement then, too. There was the Spanish Civil War, there were many progressive people who were fighting against the right-wing forces. But the right-wing forces won in the 1930s and pretty much remained in power until the 1970s and then handed over power to this current monarchy. Although it is a constitutional monarchy, they did hand over the head of state position to the current monarch, who wants to now hand it over to his son.
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