Spanish King's Popularity Plunges


Spain's King Juan Carlos has seen his popularity plunge in the past year, a poll showed Thursday, after scandals over elephant-hunting and a corruption probe implicating his family.

Only half of the 1,000 people polled expressed a good judgment of his reign, compared with three quarters a year ago, said the survey by Sigma Dos for El Mundo newspaper.

Juan Carlos, who turns 75 on Saturday, won wide respect in Spain for helping guide it through a political transition after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

But his image suffered last year, largely because of two scandals.

The first was a corruption case against his son -in-law Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, who went before a judge in February.

The other was an expensive game-hunting trip the king himself made to Botswana, while Spain suffered in a recession.

The king broke his hip on that trip, prompting the first of two hip replacements he had to undergo last year.

Thursday's poll added that general support for having a monarchy in Spain fell to 54 percent, six points lower than a year ago and "a historic low", according to the newspaper.

Nearly 58 percent of people aged between 18 and 29 said they thought a monarchy was not the best form of governance for Spain.

El Mundo suggested people of this generation do not share their parents' reverence for the king since they "did not live through the transition and are not very interested in it".

A rare television interview with Juan Carlos was due to be broadcast on Friday evening.

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