June 3, 2014 / 11:57 AM / 5 years ago

Spain's Prince Felipe set to become king after June 18 -speaker

MADRID, June 3 (Reuters) - Spain’s Prince Felipe will probably succeed his father Juan Carlos as king sometime after June 18, parliament speaker Jesus Posada said on Tuesday, a day after the long-reigning monarch announced he would abdicate.

Juan Carlos said on Monday he would hand over the throne to Felipe in a move aimed at rehabilitating the scandal-hit Spanish monarchy at a time of economic hardship and growing discontent with the wider political elite.

Spain does not have a precise set of rules regulating abdication and succession and the transition is set to be accomplished via legislation in parliament, where the governing conservative People’s Party has an absolute majority. The opposition Socialists have said they would back the bill.

“We will see, but I believe that everything should be sorted out by June 18 so that the solemn proclamation can take place before the chambers (parliament and senate),” Posada said.

The once-popular Juan Carlos, 76, who spent almost 40 years on the throne, helped smooth Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1970s after the Francisco Franco dictatorship but seemed increasingly out of touch in recent years.

A corruption scandal in the family and his visible infirmity after repeated surgery in recent years have also eroded public support for Juan Carlos. Polls show greater support for Felipe, 46, who has not been tarnished by the corruption allegations.

An extraordinary cabinet meeting started at 1000 GMT in Madrid on Tuesday to set out the exact steps for Prince Felipe to take over as Felipe VI. (Reporting by Edgar Aribau, writing by Julien Toyer, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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