Spain’s King Felipe to visit Barcelona for first time since independence referendum

Spain’s King Felipe to visit Barcelona for first time since independence referendum

Spanish King Felipe plans to visit Barcelona today, his first such visit since Catalonia’s unconstitutional independence referendum last year and

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Photo: AP

Spanish King Felipe plans to visit Barcelona today, his first such visit since Catalonia’s unconstitutional independence referendum last year and recent regional elections.

Felipe’s visit aims to fulfil his constitutional duty of unifying the Spanish nation, as well as resolving the controversial position he took during the referendum. During the referendum, the King released a speech stating his and the government’s resolve towards ensuring that Catalonia would remain part of Spain. Many pro-independence Catalans resented the King’s outspoken views on the referendum and his close coordination with the government in Madrid to quell separatist efforts. As a result, separatists and certain members of the regional parliament are expected to disrupt the visit this week, amidst an attempt to generate public support for a new secession vote.

As Spain’s constitutional monarch, King Felipe is obligated to maintain his position, despite the unpopular view this gives him in Catalonia. Thus independence for Catalonia and the King’s popularity are likely to remain polarising issues in all regions of Spain.

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