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Saudi princes should resolve succession tensions

Monday, January 19, 2015

Subject

Saudi princes should resolve rising succession tensions

Significance

The increasing frailty of King Abdallah bin Abd-al-Aziz, who is approximately 91, has put the kingdom's succession struggle into sharp relief. Abdallah has decreed that, following the widely assumed accession of current crown prince Salman (78), their half-brother Muqrin (71) -- the designated 'deputy crown prince' -- will accede to the throne. However, Salman may not adhere to Abdallah's attempt to pre-select his own successor; as king, Salman may instead want to favour one of his own sons. As the older generation of princes dies out, the time when succession finally passes to their sons is approaching. While this may yet be some time off, the contest already has several front runners and possibly one or two surprises.

Impacts

  • As king, Salman could open up the succession debate, prompting possible public dissension among aggrieved princes.
  • Such disputes could hamper government business and policy-making.
  • Abdallah and Salman's ill health may complicate succession agreements.
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