International desk – The Saudi king has appointed his son as crown prince replacing his nephew as first line to the throne.
Thirty-one year Mohammed bin Salman is now the crown prince of the Kingdom instead of Mohammed bin Nayef, according to the appointment.
State-run news agency SPA reported that King Salman’s decree also means Prince Mohammed bin Salman will become deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister.
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, has also been removed from his role as head of domestic security, BBC reported quoting state media.
He has pledged allegiance to the new crown prince, the news agency said.
King Salman, 81, acceded to the throne in January 2015 after the death of his half-brother Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
Saudi Arabia has typically been ruled by kings in their 70s or 80s.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s latest promotion, and his rapid ascent, is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing.
BBC analysis says that the appointment was a big shakeup in the succession.
The deposed heir to the throne, Nayef, is a widely respected prince who was in charge of the fight against al-Qaeda sympathisers in Saudi Arabia.
He’s lost his job as interior minister as well as his position as crown prince.
The new heir to the Saudi throne, Salman, has carved out a much higher profile than Prince Nayef. His father King Salman is 81 and reportedly not in the best of health.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman was already defence minister and in charge of economic reform. He must have already ruffled a lot of feathers in a royal family that was used to being presided over by a succession of elderly men.
So far his most controversial move has been to run Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The Saudi campaign has been criticised for human rights violations – including killing many civilians, according to the BBC.