King Salman isn’t planning to abdicate in favor of his son, a senior Saudi official mentioned, dismissing mounting hypothesis that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will quickly ascend to the throne.
“There is not any risk by any means that the king will abdicate,’’ the official mentioned in response to written questions. Saudi kings often keep in energy even when dangerous well being prevents them from finishing up their job, the official mentioned on situation of anonymity. He famous the instance of King Fahd, who stayed on as monarch till his loss of life in 2005 regardless of being gravely ailing in the previous few years of his reign.
Abdication is unthinkable particularly since King Salman, 81, enjoys “good’’ bodily and psychological powers, the official mentioned. Those who counsel in any other case “don’t perceive royal customs and traditions in Saudi Arabia,” the official mentioned.
King Salman has already sidelined senior princes as his son rose to energy. Prince Mohammed, 32, was named inheritor to the throne in June after changing his cousin. Last week, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was additionally dismissed from his submit as head of the National Guard as a part of what authorities described as a sweeping anti-corruption drive, reinforcing hypothesis that the crown prince was on the cusp of changing into king.
The authorities can have issue credibly denying that hypothesis “as a result of nobody expects them to acknowledge it as a risk earlier than it occurs,” mentioned Graham Griffiths, an analyst at consultancy Control Risks in Dubai. “As a outcome, rumor and hypothesis will proceed to abound.”
There is one precedent of a Saudi monarch stepping down whereas nonetheless alive. King Saud bin Abdulaziz abdicated in favor of his brother and inheritor, Prince Faisal, within the mid-1960s after stress from ruling members of the family. The prince had already claimed broad powers to counter a monetary disaster that engulfed the dominion on the time.
Eurasia Group in September mentioned the royal palace was finalizing plans to switch energy permitting “the daddy to supervise the transition and forestall dissent from different highly effective members of the ruling household.”
Prince Mohammed already controls virtually all levers of presidency. He oversees protection, oil and financial insurance policies. He has vowed to wean the Saudi financial system off its reliance on oil and return to a extra reasonable type of Islam.
While all indicators now level to an orderly succession in a number of years’ time, discontent with Prince Mohammed’s
domestic reform program and international coverage initiatives “might improve the household’s willingness to problem him,’’ Griffiths mentioned.