The King of Spain, King Felipe VI, has called on Catalonia’s newly elected parliamentary body to desist from further agitations for independence.
In his traditional Christmas Eve address on Sunday night, the King who was crowned on 19 June 2014, said he would not expect any moves from Catalonia towards secession from Spain.
“The way forward cannot once again lead to confrontation or exclusion that, as we now know, only generates discord, uncertainty, anguish,” the Associated Press quotes him in a report.
Image: King Felipe VI
The Spanish monarch’s address came four days after regional parliamentary elections resulted in separatist parties being voted back into power.
Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, had dissolved the previous parliament after it voted in October to declare Catalonia an independent republic, but saw his hopes dashed that separatists would not regain a majority of seats.
Speaking in the nationwide televised speech, King Felipe VI said, “2017 for Spain has been, without a doubt, a difficult year for our commonwealth, a year marked, above all, by the situation in Catalonia.
“Catalonia’s leaders must face the problems that affect all Catalans, respecting their diversity and thinking responsibly in the common good,” he added.
The 49-year-old king’s last televised address was on Oct. 3, two days after Catalonia’s regional government disobeyed a court injunction and held a referendum on secession, which he harshly criticized, describing the Catalan government as disloyal.
Felipe, who married TV news journalist Letizia Ortiz, applied a more conciliatory tone during his speech on Sunday. He recognized that while Spain had grown into a fully integrated member of the European Union, not everything was a success in recent decades.
The King expressed his desire to recover the harmonious coexistence at the heart of Catalan society, in all its diversity, so that ideas don’t divide or separate families and friends.
Image shows King Felipe, his wife Letizia Ortiz, and two daughters (Source: Vogue)
Felipe, (full names Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y de Grecia) ascended to the throne after his father, King Juan Carlos, relinquished the mantle of leadership in 2014.
The current Spanish King is an only son of Juan Carlos and his wife Sofía of Greece and Denmark.