Saudi king will reportedly transfer power to his son in coming days
Saudi King Salman, 81, may abdicate from the throne in favor of his 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Arab media has reported in the light of seismic events that rocked the kingdom over the weekend.
The king will announce the decision within “the next two nights,” the Iranian news channel PressTV reported Wednesday, citing information from Rai al-Youm, a website publishing news and analyses on the Arab world.
Earlier on Wednesday, Saudi-owned television channel Al-Arabiya announced the news on Twitter, but later the post was deleted, according to the report.
The information is not officially confirmed. Riyadh has not made any statement regarding the issue.
“The expected development marks a change in the order of succession in Saudi Arabia from lateral lines of elderly brothers to a vertical order under which the king hands power to his favorite son,” PressTV reported.
For the first time, speculation of King Salman’s possible abdication had surfaced in late June when the monarch removed his nephew, then deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, from his position, making his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir apparent to the throne.
In September, the Lebanese broadcaster al-Manar reported citing sources close to the royal family that King Salman may soon step down due to health issues.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already made headlines with his reforms.
Over 40 members of the royal family, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, ministers, military officials and businessmen, were arrested in Saudi Arabia on Sunday at the order of the kingdom’s newly established anti-corruption committee headed by the crown prince.
On April 25, 2016, the crown prince announced the Saudi Vision 2030 development plan. The document includes 80 projects, aimed at developing public service sectors, among others, and a number of women’s rights initiatives.
In late October, Mohammed bin Salman also spoke in favor of returning to “moderate Islam” and pledged to bring an end to extremism in Saudi Arabia in the near future.
In September, the Saudi government announced that it would ease restrictions on female spectators in sports stadiums and starting June 2018 all women in the country would be allowed to drive. Women in Saudi Arabia have been barred from driving since the late 1970s.