0

Palma.—The Palma city council called on Iñaki Urdangarin, the King´s son-in-law, not to use his official title, the Duke of Palma.
Urdangarin is being investigated over allegations that he embezzled six million euros of public funds through the Noos sports Foundation he ran alongside his business partner, Diego Torres. He appeared in court in Palma on Saturday in which he denied any wrong doing.

But yesterday during a council meeting a motion was approved calling on Urdangarin to refrain from using the title because they believe that it could give the city a bad name. Urdangarian is one of the most unpopular people in Spain at the moment.

The city can´t legally strip Urdangarin of his title because it was bestowed on him by King Juan Carlos. “It is not up to us to decide who is duke and who isn´t, but we would ask him to stop using the title. We obviously respect the royal family and much appreciate their love for the city,” said a council spokesperson. Until recently the popular Ramblas in Palma was called the Ramblas of the Dukes of Palma. The street has now reverted to its former name. The Palma city council have acted quite harshly over the Duke and it should be said that so far he has not been charged with any offence.

Antonio Verger, leader of the MES nationalist coalition on the city council, said that the royal household should strip the Duke of his title.
Meanwhile Aina Calvia, former Mayor of Palma and leader of the opposition socialists, said that it was the royal household who had taken the lead in the Urdangarin case removing photos of him from their official website and asking him not to carry out any royal duties. The case has taken its toll on the royal family. King Juan Carlos, who took the throne in 1975, was the most popular public figure in Spain in the late 1970s because of his role in supporting the transition to democracy after the long Francisco Franco dictatorship.

But for the first time, politicians have openly called for him to abdicate and hand the throne to his son, Prince Felipe, as his prestige has eroded due to the Urdangarin case, as well as his own missteps. Metroscopia polling firm figures show his approval rating has fallen to 58 percent from much higher levels.

Last year, when Spain seemed on the brink of bankruptcy, the king fell and broke his hip during an elephant hunting safari with wealthy friends in Botswana.

The king, 75, made a surprise public apology for the trip, which had been secret until his accident.