Did the Return of Khalifa bin Salman Stand in Crown Prince's Way to Become Prime Minister?
2020-03-24 - 8:33 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Four months after his absence (November 21, 2019-March 20, 2020) for treatment in Germany, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa returned to Bahrain.
He was received by the king and four of his sons, First Deputy Prime Minister Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad, Abdulla bin Hamad, Nasser bin Hamad and Khalid bin Hamad as well as Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad bin Mobarak Al Khalifa.
The absence of Royal Court Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and his brother commander-in-chief Khalifa bin Ahmed was notable. The absence of the two strong brothers reveals a lot.
The return of Khalifa bin Salman was not arbitrary, but came with a major change in the situation which is not in his favor. The Crown Prince is strongly advancing amid the full support of his father and support from Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to take hold of the government. The government's performance regarding the Coronavirus situation and the release of hundreds of prisoners, including political prisoners, have paved the way for the Crown Prince, especially with rumors circulating that a new government will be formed by him.
Khalifa bin Salman returned immediately, and launched his first statement highlighting his commitment to his position. "We are resolved to continue exerting more efforts that would develop the nation and its people. We are confident that Bahrainis are capable of attaining more achievements that consolidate the status of their nation in various fields," he said in a piece of news published by BNA.
Khalifa, 84, has served as Bahrain's prime minister since the kingdom declared independence from Britain in 1971. The Al Khalifa family has ruled since 1783.
Loyal voices have lacked their usual tone critical of the Crown Prince since the emergence of signs that he will take over the government. These voices also acted differently after the Prime Minister's return to the country, as they did not issue the usual statements of honor and praise. This hesitation indicates that senior loyalists are waiting to know whether Khalifa bin Salman will return to his office in Al-Qudaybiyah, the center of the government, or see whether the King along with Crown Prince supporters have made their decision on the matter this time.