Saudi’s Crown Prince decisively wins Person of the Year reader poll

December 5, 2017 2:10 pm

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the author of both Saudi Vision 2030 and Saudi National Transformation Plan 2020, was not coveting awards when he set out to change the course and perception of the Kingdom as it ploughs its way into uncharted waters towards political and economic reforms.

But he deservingly did earn Time’s Person of the Year 2017 online reader poll, and he did so by a landslide, earning 24% of the votes.

Second place went to the people around the world who shared their experiences with sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement, with 6% of the votes, according to Time.

The famous poll is published on an annual basis for 90 years, and this year Saudi crown prince received the most online votes, but why?

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It’s about TIME

Time said the Saudi crown prince has won TIME’s Person of the Year 2017 online reader poll, earning more votes than other world leaders, industry titans, entertainers and activists.

“The 32-year-old crown prince received 24% of the “yes” votes cast,” TIME said.

TIME editors make the selection based on what voters identify as the person or group of people who, for better or worse, wielded the most influence in the previous 12 months.

While in 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the online reader poll, then US president elect Donald Trump was named Person of the Year.  The same thing happened a year earlier when in 2015, US Senator Bernie Sanders was tops among online voters, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel was given the coveted title.

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Ultimately, the magazine’s editors will decide who the Person of the Year 2017 is, but the margin between the Crown Prince and the ones closest to him will in all likelihood land the crown prince the title, which will be announced December 6, 2017.

That award is one of the most cherished recognitions in the world, with a winners’ list that included Winston Churchill (twice) and Mahatma Ghandi (once).

Making headlines

Crown Prince Mohammed has been constantly in the news ever since he announced Saudi Vision 2030, as he leads the country into a path of unprecedented political and economic reforms.

From the decision to allow Saudi women to drive, to allowing people to communicate via VOIP, giving certain foreign businesses full ownership rights, introducing entertainment venues and opening up Dubai-like tourism venues, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been a key figure globally.

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He attracts business interest from international companies like Virgin, and SoftBank, and countless other long term investors will be looking to own a stake in the 5% sale of Aramco’s shares, or invest in NEOM, the $500bn city by the Red Sea.

Recently, the crown prince made more headlines following a clampdown on corruption that saw royals and business people detained in a move perceived by many observers as a way to consolidate power.

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What does it mean to be Person of the Year?

The title goes to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse,” as former TIME Managing Editor Walter Isaacson wrote in the 1998 issue.

That means the person is not necessarily a hero, such as when Adolf Hitler was chosen in 1938.

According to Time, Russia’s Stalin won twice, and Iran’s Ayatullah Khomeini got it in 1979.



Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.