09 November 2017
Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website, reported Wednesday the Saudi king will announce his decision in “the next two nights,” the report said.
In a Tweet by Saudi-owned TV news channel Al-Arabiya on Wednesday the news was announced, but it was quickly retracted hours later, the report said.
Political analysts believe Riyadh is seeking to garner pubic opinion and test the waters for the change, the report said.
If such a move were to take place, it would mark a change in succession order from lateral lines of elderly brothers to a vertical order under which the king hands power to his favorite son, Press TV reported.
In late June, speculation of King Salman’s possible abdication surfaced, the report said, when the monarch deposed his nephew, then deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef as the heir to the throne and offered the position to his favorite son, in what analysts described as a “political earthquake” back then.
Only weeks ago, the website of Lebanon’s al-Manar channel reported the 32-year-old bin Salman had formed a team of aides to prepare the kingdom for celebrating his succession to power as the new king.
The paper quoted sources close to the royal family as saying that King Salman was due to step down over his health issues. The sources then
noted that bin Salman had ordered the kingdom’s security officials to increase supervision of royal figures to prevent any coup.
Since replacing his cousin bin Nayef in June, bin Salman has embarked on a campaign to consolidate power, taking on rivals within the royal family.
Late Saturday, the report said, bin Salman sent shockwaves through the kingdom when he fired senior ministers and had dozens of the country’s richest men detained, ostensibly on the grounds of fighting corruption. The arrests included his cousin and one of the world’s richest men, al-Waleed bin Talal.
– WN.com, Jack Durschlag