Spain's king abdicates for political reasons: palace source

MADRID Mon Jun 2, 2014 8:13am EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's King Juan Carlos has decided to abdicate for political reasons rather than because of his ailing health, a source at the royal palace told Reuters on Monday.

"It's a political decision. He is abdicating given the new challenges in Spain because he thinks it's necessary to make way for the new generation," the source said.

The king made the decision to step down in January and told Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba of it in April, added the source.

The announcement was delayed until after the European elections to avoid affecting the vote, the source said.

(Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; Writing by Sarah Morris; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)

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