Saudi succession plans increase outlook for stability

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The balance of power in Saudi family politics has shifted significantly with King Salman's accession

Impacts

  • Any disputes over King Salman's appointments are likely to be settled privately.
  • Crown Prince Muqrin is now almost certain to become king, probably ruling in de facto partnership with Prince Mohammed.
  • New defence minister Mohammed bin Salman has been positioned as a potential future king -- but his unpopularity may undermine his chances.
  • Salman and Muqrin will ensure policy continuity, with major changes and reforms left to Prince Mohammed and the 'next generation' princes.

Conclusion

King Salman's decision to appoint his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as second-in-line to the throne has swiftly settled the critical, but contentious issue of which of the next generation of princes will be the first to inherit the throne. This diminishes the risk of competition between various princes that had the potential to disrupt government.

However, a significant source of tension remains -- Salman has promoted his own 'Sudairi' branch of the family at the expense of other contenders, notably King Abdallah's son, Prince Miteb.

References

see SAUDI ARABIA: Princes should agree on succession - January 19, 2015

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