gpolit.com
gpolit.com January 19, 2018


Saudi King Orders New Allowances to Offset Rising Cost of Living

09 January 2018, 01:50 | Rufus Hill

Saudi Arabia introduces populist measure to try soften austerity policy

11 Saudi princes arrested after Riyadh protest on suspension of royal subsidies

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MbS) is using an elite force of the Royal Guard to suppress dissent in the royal family, according to Saudi media reports.

The princes had gathered on Thursday at Qasr al-Hokm palace demanding the cancellation of a recent decree that halted state payment of water and electricity bills for royal family members and seeking compensation for a death sentence implemented in 2016 against one of their cousins, Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer. It said the men were being held in prison on charges of disturbing public peace and order.

Saudi Arabia previous year rounded up dozens of royal family members, current and former senior officials in the crackdown on corruption that has also strengthened the power of the heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In cooperation with other security sectors, the Royal Guard provides security and protection to the king, crown prince and VIPs inside and outside the country.

Officials said the arrests were part of a determined effort to root out corruption, but the unprecedented sweep also threatened to upend the kingdom's delicate and decades-old balance of power, analysts said.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday declared a monthly payment of 1000 riyals ($267) to his countrymen in order to lessen the impact of rising cost of living after the sudden increase in domestic gas prices and introduced Value-Added Tax.

The cuts continue and the subsidies for members of the royal family were reduced.

In November, the government arrested dozens of influential Saudis, including princes, cabinet ministers and business tycoons, detaining them at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

The government information service, the Centre for International Communication, said it was checking the report.



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