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Home » Content » The keys of the ‘Operation King Juan Carlos I’
Juan Carlos I's expatriation decision was from Felipe VI, backed by Pedro Sánchez, and it's "indefinite" and it would be "definitive" if there is no radical change in the situation. The Council of Ministers had no competence in this matter which was to be known, endorsed and coordinated by the President of the Government along with the House of the King.

José Antonio Zarzalejos

SATURDAY, 08/08/2020

The Emeritus King, Juan Carlos I. / JAIME REINA (AFP)

The banishment of Juan Carlos I last Monday – accepted not without effort by the emeritus king – is, for the moment, the culmination of a process of political, institutional and emotional estrangement, from his son, the King. The large volume of the symbolic presence of the abdicated monarch, living under the same roof as his successor in units of the National Heritage, was not compatible with the sharpness of perception required by the monarchical institution or with the aesthetics – a disruptive of ethics – with which its holder, Philip VI, must be perceived. The keys to the bizarreness of Juan Carlos I (known as operation RJCI in the communications between the positions that have prepared it) have been as follows.

1) The decision to suggest “vehemently” to the king emeritus his transfer abroad was the competence of Philip VI, head of the royal family, but by its political significance it had to be consulted and supported by the President of the Government who is the authority that, according to the Constitution and Law 50/1997 of 27 November, endorses the acts of the King and the highest executive authority of the State that must cover decisions of political and symbolic scope taken by Philip VI even if, as in this case, they are not ruled but discretionary. The decision has been presented as a volunteer of Juan Carlos I even though in fact it has been strictly induced by his son and endorsed by the Moncloa.

2) The Government, as a collegiate body, has no competence in the King’s decision. Yes, the president of the government as a one-man body. Therefore, Pedro Sánchez had no obligation to communicate to the Council of Ministers, either before or after, the strangeness of the king emeritus. Within his duties as head of the Executive, the President had the confidential collaboration of the first vice-president, Carmen Calvo, Minister of the Presidency and the services of the Moncloa: the Director of the Cabinet, Iván Redondo, and the Secretary General, Félix Bolaños.

From the departure of Juan Carlos I of Spain only had information close to the date of their departure the ministers of interior, defense and foreign affairs, and not the other holders of portfolios of the socialist quota in the Executive. None of UP. Pedro Sánchez has acted with legal correctness and political discretion. A leak could have knocked the operation down.


3) The task team appointed by the President of the Government coordinated with that of the Casa del Rey under the direction of Jaime Alfonsín, the head of it since the proclamation of Felipe VI and, before, since 1995, holder of its secretariat as Prince of Asturias. Alfonsín is a lawyer of the State and is responsible for the rank of minister. Both teams worked for weeks on the instructions of the King and the President of the Government who held several private conversations, usual between the two.

There was coordination with the lawyer of the king Emeritus Javier-Sánchez Junco, prosecutor on leave and participated in the preparations the previous secretary general of the House and then Juan Carlos I, the diplomat Alfonso Sanz Portolés, whose position of assistance to the king emeritus was abolished last June. Sanchez’s statements at the press conference with Giuseppe Conte (8 July) and Telecinco (27 July) – in which he showed concern about the information about Juan Carlos I and his adherence to the parliamentary monarchy – were inserted into a strategy previously known at the Zarzuela. The Casa del Rey was on notice of the responses that referred to the monarchy and Juan Carlos I at the appearance of Pedro Sánchez last Tuesday.

4) Before taking the decision on the strangeness of the father of Philip VI, other measures were shuffled such as his change of residence in Spain and, even, the revocation, or voluntary resignation by Juan Carlos I, of the title of king and treatment of majesty (Royal decree of 13 June 2014) a measure that had been involved in formalizing the Council of Ministers and that could also have involved his departure from the royal family. Neither measure, for different reasons, was deemed appropriate.

Despite the negative impact of expatriation, it was appreciated that the emeritus king is a citizen with no outstanding accounts with justice and without judicial restriction to his freedom of movement. His return to Spain if called by an investigating magistrate of the Second Chamber of the Supreme, is taken for granted, unless the procedure is admitted by videoconference. But, in the light of not, the banishment of Juan Carlos I is understood as a measure of an “indefinite” character that could be “definitive”. It is not a “parenthesis”, nor a temporary stay abroad. To Spain would only return if there is a reversal of the current situation and a total voluntary fiscal regularization with the Treasury of the Public which would amount to tens of millions of euros.

Inquiries continue

5) The strangeness of the emeritus king is simultaneous with the continuation of the inquiries of the prosecutor of the Supreme Chamber, Juan Ignacio Campos, who were entrusted by decree of the Attorney General of the State of 5 June last in view of his capacity before the Second Chamber. Campos has several support prosecutors – not in Chamber – and another of equal category to his, Rosa Ana Morán Martínez, who is a prosecutor in the high court of international criminal cooperation.

The prosecution is doing a preliminary ruling and has no power to call to declare Juan Carlos I. That appeal would only be the responsibility of a magistrate instructor of the Second Chamber, appointed by shift, upon admission of an eventual criminal complaint or after consideration by the same Chamber of a reasoned statement by the Magistrate-judge holding no. 6 of the Audiencia Nacional, Manuel García Castellón, if from the statements of Corinna Larsen and José Villarejo of 8 September and subsequent investigations are deduced evidence of a persecuted crime because it is not under inviolability of the emeritus or for other circumstances such as prescription.

6) One of the conditions negotiated with Juan Carlos I for his expatriation concerns the public knowledge of his destination, whether provisional or definitive. Presidency of the Government has assumed that it will be the King’s House that provides this information but not before authorized by the emeritus who have moved accompanied by four escorts assigned to the Royal Guard and who are members of the Civil Guard.  They depend functionally on the Ministry of the Interior, so that both minister and president, as well as the Foreign Office holder, know the place where the monarch abdicated is located, as does the King himself and the Head of his House, Jaime Alfonsín.

Until Juan Carlos I does not authorize to reveal its location, it will not be revealed. Meanwhile, the former Head of State would be offering false clues to his own environment to confuse the media, and changing his destination should it be detected with certainty. This situation is considered sustainable only a few more days, but not indefinitely. Juan Carlos I has the status of King emeritus, is a member of the royal family and is therefore bound to an elementary transparency that is evading with an obvious arbitrariness that worsens his public image.


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