Spain's King Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe on Tuesday made their first public appearance together since the monarch announced that he was abdicating in favor of his son.
The Spanish monarch and his son participated in a military ceremony at the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Monastery that was attended by the army and air force commanders.
King Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe, both wearing military uniforms, arrived at the monastery as a large crowd of tourists and residents look on, with many people shouting "Long live the king!"
The Spanish monarch said Monday he was abdicating in favor of his 46-year-old son, Felipe de Borbon, after nearly 39 years on the throne.
"Today, a younger generation deserves to move to the forefront, with new energy, committed to carrying out the transformations and reforms that the current situation demands with determination," the king said, referring to Felipe, the Prince of Asturias.
King Juan Carlos said he began preparing to step down in January, when he turned 76, and had now advised the government of his plans so the succession process can be set in motion.
The legal framework could be in place to proclaim Spain's next king, Felipe VI, by June 18, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Jesus Posada, said Tuesday.
Under Spanish law, Parliament must approve legislation governing the succession process for the Crown.
The constitutional mechanisms for the succession will be activated once the law is published in the Official Bulletin of the State, or BOE, and Prince Felipe will then be proclaimed king before Parliament.
The succession law to be approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday could go to a vote in the lower house of Parliament next week, with the Senate taking up the measure the following week, Posada said.
"I believe everything could be ready by the 18th so the proclamation of the king can be made in the Cortes (lower house of Parliament). But the decision is not mine. We'll speak with the Royal Household and with the government," Posada said.
Posada refused to comment on the ceremony in which Spain's new king will ascend to the throne, saying that it would be designed "in accordance with the wishes" of the Royal Household.
Juan Carlos ascended to the throne on Nov. 22, 1975, and his son, Felipe de Borbon, became Prince of Asturias, the title held by the heir to the Spanish Crown, in January 1977. EFE