MADRID, June 2 Spain's King Juan Carlos is
abdicating after almost 40 years on the throne and his son
Prince Felipe will succeed him, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
said on Monday in a surprise announcement.
"His majesty, King Juan Carlos, has just communicated to me
his will to give up the throne," Rajoy "I'm convinced this is
the best moment for change."
Once popular Juan Carlos, 76, who helped smooth Spain's
transition to democracy in the 1970s after the Francisco Franco
dictatorship, has lost public support in recent years due to
corruption scandals and gaffes.
His daughter, Princess Cristina, and her husband, Inaki
Urdangarin, are under investigation in a corruption case.
The king, whose health is failing and has had a number of
hip operations in recent years, is stepping down for personal
reasons, Rajoy said.
(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Paul Day)