Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

KING OF SPAIN ADVOCATES; SON TO LEAD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

KING OF SPAIN ADVOCATES; SON TO LEAD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

KING OF SPAIN ADVOCATES; SON TO LEAD

MADRID - Spain's King Juan Carlos, who led Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy but faced damaging scandals amid the nation's financial meltdown, announced today he will abdicate in favor of his son so that fresh royal blood can rally the nation in its time of trouble.

The king told Spaniards in a nationwide address that he started making a plan to give up the throne after he turned 76 in January.

He said that the 46-year-old Crown Prince Felipe - whose 70 percent approval rating in a recent El Mundo newspaper poll compares to his father's 41 percent - is ready to be king and will "open a new era of hope."

Juan Carlos didn't specify which problems his son must address as the next head of state for Spain.

But the king stressed Felipe will need to "tackle with determination the transformations that the current situation demands and confront the challenges of tomorrow with renewed intensity and dedication."

As Spain embarks on what appears to be a sluggish but steady economic recovery, its biggest problem is the drive by the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia to hold a secession vote in November - one labeled illegal by the central government in Madrid.

PALESTINIANS FORM UNITY GOVERNMENT

RAMALLAH, West Bank - President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government today, taking a major step toward ending a crippling split with his Hamas rivals, but also setting the stage for new friction with Israel and possibly with the West.

The brief ceremony at Mr. Abbas' West Bank headquarters was preceded by last-minute haggling over the 17-member Cabinet of technocrats, including three from Gaza who were prevented by Israel from attending, highlighting the volatile nature of the new alliance between the longtime foes. …

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