Saudis pledge allegiance to new leaders
Thousands of Saudi leaders flowed through a palace in the Saudi capital Thursday to pledge support for the new crown prince. (Twitter)
Thousands of Saudi leaders, Islamic scholars, princes, officers and common people have flowed through a majestic palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh to pledge allegiance to the new crown prince Nayef Bin Mohammad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and to the deputy crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
The two new leaders were appointed early on Wednesday by royal orders that also named and removed ministers, advisors and senior officials in an impressive restructuring of the power balance in the vast kingdom.
The allegiance ceremony started after the Isha (Evening) prayers and brought together princes and commoners in a pledge that seals the appointments of the two officials from the second generation of princes, known as the grandsons of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the state.
According to reports in Saudi Arabia, the nomination of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman as the country’s Deputy Crown Prince was approved by 82.3 per cent of the members of the allegiance (known in Arabic as baya) Council.
Local news site Sabq said that 28 of the 34 members endorsed the nomination, four opposed it and two abstained from voting.
Former Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud who was appointed in January to the country’s second highest position was among those who presented their allegiance to the new crown prince and his deputy, local media said. Outgoing Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal was also at the ceremony.
The official Saudi television channel beamed live parts of the allegiance ceremony.
Centres for citizens to pledge their allegiance have been opened for all Saudis throughout the kingdom while diplomatic missions abroad have invited Saudi citizens abroad to announce their pledges.
While the palace in Riyadh was filled with wellwishers, some Saudis used social media and microblogs to express their sentiments.
“I have pledged allegiance to my brother Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz as Crown Prince and to my brother Mohammad Bin Salman as Deputy Crown Prince in the service of our religion, then the king and the nation,” Al Waleed Bin Talal posted on his Twitter account.
Al Waleed’s reaction to the latest appointments by King Salman who came to power on January 23 following the death of King Abdullah, was among the most anticipated in the kingdom.
The business tycoon dismissed allegations that he had decided to stop following King Salman on Twitter.
“I have followed only my companies in the past and it is an honour for me to follow the account of my father [King Salman],” he posted.
In Kuwait, Al Rai daily paid rich tribute to King Salman who in less than 100 days since taking over has made profound changes in his country and in the region.
In a front-page editorial, the daily highlighted the “outstanding prowess of King Salman in changing the political and administrative structure of the country and in asserting a new approach to thorny issues in the region that included clear signals to neighbours and allies.”
By Habib Toumi