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King Felipe has been in talks with numerous Spanish political leaders in recent weeks in an effort to build a new government.

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King Felipe and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is serving on an acting basis pending a new government. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Last December’s national elections did not yield a clear winner among establishment and emerging parties.

And numerous disagreements on style and substance are making it difficult for leaders to craft governing coalitions.

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King Felipe welcomes the head of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, to Zarzuela Palace. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Spanish Constitution gives the King a key role in helping tap the new head of government, particularly in times of political confusion.

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King Felipe with Albert Rivera, head of Ciutadans. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

His Majesty has been meeting with the heads of each parliamentary formation, except for some anti-monarchist regional nationalist parties.

While making it known he sees the formation of a new government difficult and pressing dialogue, the King is refraining from acting in a way that even appears to violate popular will.

 

King Juan Carlos was back in Latin America this week, attending the inauguration ceremonies for new Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

His Majesty met with outgoing President Alejandro Maldonado, and other leaders of the country and region.

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Don Juan Carlos with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe, King Juan Carlos’ son and current Spanish head of state, used to attend such ceremonies during his time as Prince of Asturias.

The Royal Families tries to keep tight relations with the leaders of Spain’s former colonies.

Catalan nationalists are criticizing King Felipe for what they see as lack of political neutrality.

His Majesty refused to receive the new head of the Catalan Parliament, who wanted to personally transmit word of a new regional president after months of stalemate, media outlets reported.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Catalan nationalists, who are leading an independence movement from Spain, have also complained about the government’s lack of formal appreciation for the outgoing regional president.

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King Felipe with former Catalan President Artur Mas. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Royal Household, say media outlets, is pointing to the national government and past precedent.

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King Felipe with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Still, the new Catalan president took his oath of office without swearing allegiance to the Spanish Constitution of the King.

King Felipe is leading a Spain through political turmoil, with national parties still unable to form a government and Catalan leaders insisting on independence.

Don Felipe took another chance to promote the rule of law and coexistence during military ceremonies last week.

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The King and Queen with top government officials at the Royal Palace courtyard. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

“Guaranteeing liberty and the rights of citizens is a demand and responsibility of a country under the rule of law,” Don Felipe said at the annual Pascua Militar at the Madrid Royal Palace.

The Pascua Militar, which literally translates to Military Easter, dates to the 1700’s, when Spanish troops kicked our British forces from the island of Menorca.

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Their Majesties listen to remarks at the Madrid Royal Palace Throne Room. 

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Beyond ongoing political challenges, members of the Spanish Royal Family are monitoring the corruption trial of Infanta Cristina and her husband.

Prosecutors accuse him and associates of using public funds for personal gain.

Media outlets say the Infanta is preparing herself emotionally to visit her husband in prison.

King Felipe called for dialogue and unity during his much anticipated Christmas Eve speech.

The message came in the wake of national elections, where no party won enough votes to form a government.

Talks are ongoing over potential coalitions. The outcome could be pivotal because of Spain’s ongoing economic, social and political challenges.

“Today’s Spain is very different to the Spain of earlier centuries, thanks to the real and generous willingness to compromise of all its people, their sincere spirit of reconciliation and overcoming our historic differences, and the commitment of the political and social forces to serving all the people and the general interests of the nation, which must always be paramount,” said the King.

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© Agencia EFE

The King’s speech was the first ever at the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Crown’s official seat.

Don Felipe said he wanted to express Spain’s greatness with dignity and solemnity.

He also wanted to use the historic structure to highlight the country’s history and call for unity amid a secession movement in Catalonia.

“I sincerely believe that we are living in times when more than ever, we need to recognize in ourselves everything which unites us,” the King said. “We need to see the worth in what we have built together over the years with many great sacrifices, generosity and enormous dedication.”

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

While promoting unity, the King also highlighted Spain’s diversity.

Commentators praised the King for presenting a prudent and neutral message amid political uncertainty.

Yet, critics in some autonomous regions said His Majesty did not go far enough in recognizing cultural and linguistic differences within the Kingdom.

The political uncertainty stemming from Spain’s recent elections are putting King Felipe in the spotlight.

Even though the conservative Popular Party won a majority of votes, they did not secure enough to control parliament and quickly form a government.

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King Felipe with military leaders at the Royal Palace. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

With no clear coalition emerging, Don Felipe has the constitutional power to help mediate the situation. He will soon meet with leaders of the different parties.

The uncertainty has also elevated interest for the King’s traditional Christmas Eve speech.

His Majesty will deliver the recorded speech from the Throne Room at the Madrid Royal Palace for the first time ever, rather than at the Zarzuela Palace complex where the royals live.

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Queen Letizia presiding over a health care related meeting. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Even though King Felipe and Queen Letizia have re-energized the Spanish Crown, left wing victories are threatening its place in society.

In Navarre, for example, new leaders decided to include the King and Queen from their Prince of Viana awards.

The Prince of Viana is one of the traditional titles of the Spanish heir to the throne, currently Princess Leonor.

King Juan Carlos was in Argentina this month attending inauguration ceremonies for the country’s new President Mauricio Macri.

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Don Juan Carlos with Macri.

The trip was key for Spain. Relations had soured with past Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Kirchner led the nationalization of Spanish energy giant Repsol SA’s Argentine operations.

Kirchner did not attend Macri’s inauguration ceremonies, but King Juan Carlos’ visit signals a new page in relations between their countries.

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The King chats with Chilean President Michelle Bechelet.

King Juan Carlos’ son, King Felipe, used to attend inauguration ceremonies in Latin America when he was Prince of Asturias.

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