HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman has been making headlines all year for his ambitious plans, his crackdown on corruption, and his leadership in spearheading social and economic reforms across the Kingdom. And now it seems he is currently in first place in TIME magazine’s annual Person of the Year poll.
TIME has been honoring one iconic figure on its cover every year since 1927. The honor, which began as "Man of the Year," recognizes the individual who has had the most influence over the news in the last 12 months.
Prince Mohammed had already garnered 22 percent of the votes as of the 30th of November, which means that he is set to beat the likes of Colin Kaepernick (5 percent), US President Donald Trump (2 percent), Russian President Vladimir Putin (3 percent), and other high-profile figures.
Last year’s poll named US President Donald Trump as Person of the Year, but this year sees Trump trailing far behind. The year before that, in 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named Person of the Year “after she led Europe through a series of political and economic crises,” according to TIME.
Ever since his ascension, the Crown Prince has embarked on a wave of social and economic reforms that are set to transform Saudi Arabia, shifting its decades old reliance on oil revenues to creating a more diverse economy.
According to Al Arabiya, his “National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030 have been hailed by experts all over the world […] A Saudi Finance Ministry budget report released last Sunday put the Kingdom’s total third quarter revenue at SR142.1 billion ($37.9 billion), up 11 percent year-on-year.”
Speaking this November to New York Times writer Thomas Friedman, the Crown Prince explained in the interview that he would like to see his reforms come to fruition within his lifetime.
“Our country has suffered a lot from corruption from the 1980s until today. The calculation of our experts is that roughly 10 percent of all government spending was siphoned off by corruption each year, from the top levels to the bottom. Over the years the government launched more than one ‘war on corruption’ and they all failed. Why? Because they all started from the bottom up,” he said.
Voting on the reader’s choice poll for TIME’s Person of the Year ends on the 3rd of December and the winner will be announced on the 6th.