27 Feb Coup d’etats in the world and their effects
Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, was primarily selected by the dictator Franco as head of state. However, he played an important role forÂ the consolidation of democracy. During the 1981 coup d’etat attempt he stayed loyal to the Constitution and defended the people and the democratic regimeÂ against the military officials. In the uniform of the Captain General of the Spanish Armed Forces he called for support to the democratic institutions and for the Army to step down. Thus he played a crucial role in preventing the coup and he was legitimized. This was very important, because the King’s legitimization shouldn’t come from Franco, but from the people of Spain.
After the end of the dictatorship the coup makers were put into trial. Georgios Papadopoulos, Stilianos Patakos and Nikolaos Makarezos were sentenced to death by the court. The Karamanlis government though changed the death penalties into life imprisonment. This was the innovation in Greek effort of transition to Democracy. People sought justiceÂ rather thanÂ revenge. Otherwise a swift court ruling would have led to executions and created martyrs. The Democracy showed its superiority once again, when Patakos and Makarezos were released from prison in 1990 for health reasons and put under house arrest for the rest of their lives.
From the International Symposium on Coup d’etat judgements in the world and Turkey.