Saudi King Salman reportedly plans to relinquish power in favor of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has recently launched a self-promotion campaign under the cover of tackling high-level corruption.
Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website, reported on Wednesday that the king will announce the decision within “the next two nights.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Saudi-owned television news channel Al-Arabiya had announced the news in a Twitter message, but it retracted the post hours later.
Political analysts say the regime in Riyadh is apparently seeking to test the waters and examine public reaction regarding a surprise shift in power.
Since the establishment of Saudi Arabia as an absolute monarchy in 1932, the system has been effectively known as a hereditary dictatorship and monarchy.
The expected development marks a change in the order of succession in Saudi Arabia from lateral lines of elderly brothers to a vertical order under which the king hands power to his favorite son.