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Most Spaniards think ex-King Juan Carlos should not have left, opinion poll finds

The former monarch is not formally under investigation and has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations.

Juan Carlos’s lawyer said on Monday his client was at the Spanish prosecutor’s disposal despite his decision to leave.

ROLE IN TRANSITION

Despite the disapproval, reflecting Juan Carlos’ sinking popularity in recent years, some 69.2% of those questioned in Sunday’s poll said he played an important role in the transition from dictatorship to democracy after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, while 24.4% said he played “little or no” role.

The pro-monarchist newspaper ABC reported on Friday that Juan Carlos had traveled by private plane from Spain to the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

Other media have said he is in the Dominican Republic or in Portugal. Officials there have said they have no knowledge of him arriving.

A Spanish government spokeswoman declined on Sunday to comment on his whereabouts. His lawyer and the royal palace have all this week declined to say where Juan Carlos is.

News website Niusdiario.es posted a photograph https://www.niusdiario.es/nacional/casa-real/exclusiva-nius-foto-llegada-rey-emerito-juan-carlos-aeropuerto-abu-dabi-emiratos-arabes-unidos_18_2990670271.html on Saturday that it said showed him walking down the steps of a plane at an airport in Abu Dhabi. If confirmed, it would be the first image published of the ex-king since his departure.

The blurred shot appears to show Juan Carlos wearing a white face mask and talking to an official, but there were no signs or other details in the frame to confirm the location or date. Niusdiario.es gave no details on who took the picture.

United Arab Emirates officials and the Emirates Palace Hotel did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday. (Reporting by Graham Keeley Additional reporting by Nafisa Eltahir in Dubai Editing by Frances Kerry)

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