Spanish young cool to monarchy as Felipe arrives

Spanish young cool to monarchy as Felipe arrives
During her first years as princess, Ortiz struggled to gain the affection of Spaniards, who often criticised her as being distant and cold at public events

MADRID - Spain's future King Felipe VI will ascend the throne hoping to revive the scandal-hit monarchy but many young Spaniards would prefer to scrap it altogether.

Born after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975, they have little memory of the pivotal role King Juan Carlos played in Spain's transition to democracy.

They are more critical of the institution than their parents.

"The monarchy has nothing to do with the young, nothing to do with the present time. It makes no sense and only generates expenses," said Bettina Farjado, an unemployed 32-year-old, as she left a job centre in central Madrid.

Juan Carlos, 76, announced Monday that he will hand over the crown to his more popular son Felipe, 46, saying he wanted to pass the baton to "a younger generation" after several turbulent years in Spain.

The king was widely respected for smoothing Spain's transition to democracy after Franco's death, most famously appearing on national television to halt an attempted military coup in February 1981.

But gaffes and a corruption scandal centred on his younger daughter Princess Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin later slashed his popularity.

Many Spaniards were outraged when they discovered the king took a luxury elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 shortly after saying he lost sleep over Spain's high rate of youth unemployment.

Spain's unemployment rate stands at nearly 26 percent for the general population - and among those aged 16 to 24 it exceeds 50 percent.

"We should ask people what they want because I think the majority would prefer a republic after everything that the Crown has done," said Aida Martin, a 20-year-old student who was distributing her CV in the centre of the Spanish capital in a search for a summer job.

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