Saudi Arabia’s king has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and heir to the throne replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef. This also means that Prince Mohammed bin Salman will become the kingdom’s deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as the first in line to the throne is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing in the kingdom. Before his appointment, Prince Salman was responsible for leading Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
Prince Salman who is only 31 years old could lead Saudi Arabia for decades which means the kingdom will have a long period of internal stability. However, at the same time Mohammed bin Salman’s closeness to US President Donald Trump could increase pressure against Iran, which has the potential to raise tensions in the region.
Background-Saudi Arabia’s Royal Succession
The founder of Saudi Arabia is King Abdulaziz. He had dozens of sons and there exists as many as 15,000 princes and princesses in the royal family. In 2006, the royal kingdom proclaimed a decree under which a committee responsible for electing the king and crown prince was set up. This committee is made up of senior princes of the royal family and is known as the Allegiance Council.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment has received the approval of 31 out of 34 members of the council. In Saudi Arabia, those in power has the habit of promoting their sons to the roles which will improve their chances of being promoted.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most influential Arab country. It is the world’s leading oil producer and the Saudi Royal family is one of the richest ruling families in the world.