Trends show that Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (“MbZ”) has been promoting the use of his majlis to Emirati and foreign dignitaries alike. Known primarily for its important social role, the majlis is also a key political arena for the Gulf’s elite and a tool being increasingly leveraged by MbZ in his battle to cement legitimacy. Today’s insight considers the power plays behind the use of the majlis.

Impact Points

  • The role of the majlis is key to understanding political network building in the United Arab Emirates. Many of the country’s leading Sheikhs have used the majlis to increase their popularity and create transparency around their decision making.
  • Mohammed bin Zayed, however, has largely been an exception to this rule. Only recently has the Crown Prince opened up his gates to outsiders in a bid to build upon his relatively opaque profile, which is being met with mixed success.
  • Of course, this has occurred amid significant power plays behind closed doors, aimed at undercutting high profile figures that may act as potential rivals to MbZ’s power base in Abu Dhabi.