REPORTER: Spain's King Juan Carlos is abdicating the throne to his son, Prince Felipe. The king made the announcement Monday, saying the country was "at a crucial crossroads."
KING JUAN CARLOS, SAYING: "Today, a younger generation deserves to move to the front line, a generation with new energy, that has decided to undertake with determination the transformations and reforms that the current crossroad demands and face with renewed intensity and dedication the challenges of tomorrow."
REPORTER: Once popular, Juan Carlos has lost public support in recent years due to corruption scandals. The 76-year-old king helped smooth Spain's transition to democracy in the 1970s after the Francisco Franco dictatorship. On the streets of Madrid, news is traveling fast.
LOLA GARCIA, SPANISH WOMAN: "It's a shame. I'm really sorry. I don't know what's going to become of Spain and I don't like what I see coming."
REPORTER: Some think Prince Felipe will usher in positive changes.
ALEJANDRA RUBIO, SPANISH WOMAN: "If the king's abdication will bring about positive changes, well I'm all for it, but they will have to change the constitution first I think. I think the prince will be a good king because he's been prepared well; he's been one of the most prepared in all Europe."
REPORTER: Though the abdication was a surprise, a January poll said 62 percent of Spaniards were in favor of the king stepping down.
If a king or queen abdicates, he or she formally gives up power. • If the Queen abdicates Charles will become king by default.