Will the Saudi king appoint his son as a prime minister?

An interesting tweet by Mujtahid:

He says (with paraphrasing) that the Saudi king plans to appoint his son Muhammad bin Salman as a prime minister, and he will delegate his powers to his son.

Currently the Saudi monarch is also the prime minister.

It is quite clear that the Saudi king has the intention of making his son succeed him as a ruler of Saudi Arabia. It was assumed in some of the media (and by me before the media) that the Saudi king would remove Muhammad bin Nayif from his position as a crown prince and would appoint MbS in his place. However, we have read some media reports which seem to indicate that the Americans have advised the Saudi king against that move. (One report by Reuters warned the Saudi ruler that removing MbN from his position could lead to the collapse of Saudi rule, like what happened in the 19th century when the ‘2nd Saudi State’ collapsed due to internal fighting among the Saudi family.)

I have suggested that the best way for MbS to succeed his father is by presenting himself as a political reformer. If he does that, everybody outside the Saudi family will support him against MbN. Given that MbS has done almost all of the things I suggested (which surprises me), I will not be surprised anymore if MbS actually does some big reforms in the structure of the Saudi government in order to present himself as a political reformer, and while doing so oust MbN from real power.

If the Saudi king appoints MbS as a prime minister and delegates his powers to him, that will mean that the ‘king’ position in Saudi Arabia will no longer be the head of the executive branch of government. The Saudi government will look like a constitutional monarchy, so that will be (justly) taken as political reform, and MbS will have effectively succeeded his father as a ruler of Saudi Arabia.


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