MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Senate has approved legislation allowing King Juan Carlos to abdicate this week and hand the throne to Crown Prince Felipe.
The law setting out the abdication’s legal procedures passed Tuesday by 233 votes to five, with 20 abstentions. The legislation was approved by the lower house last week.
Juan Carlos will formally ratify the law Wednesday, and his 46-year-old son will be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday.
The 76-year-old monarch says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country beset by economic problems, including an unemployment rate of 25 percent.
Felipe also needs to restore the monarchy’s image after recent scandals, including Juan Carlos’ luxurious elephant-hunting safari while many Spaniards endured financial hardship.
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The hurricane missed the region, but heavy rain is still expected.