Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, as crown prince, placing him firmly first-in-line to the throne.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was second-in-line to the throne and was overseeing the defense portfolio and was head of an economic council tasked with overhauling the country’s economy. Previously, he had been in charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the crown prince.
With this, King Salman not only made his succession plan clear but also gave the 31-year old almost unprecedented powers in the world’s leading oil exporting nation. A royal decree today also removed King Salman’s 57-year-old nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
Lately, Prince Salman created a controversy by allegedly calling Pakistan a “slave country” of Saudi Arabia. A Pakistani journalist had shared a purported letter by Prince Salman in Arabic in which he had allegedly used these words against Pakistan. However, the claim was found to be fake as the letter had a Tehran dateline and there was nothing as such written in the letter, according to a report published in The Quint.
Prince Salman is known to be a man of great ambitions, including an overhaul of Saudi economy by reducing its dependence on oil. Last year, Mohammed bin Salman, or “MBS”, had announced several changes aimed at ending the kingdom’s reliance on oil. This was a part of his campaign to tackle systemic challenges that the kingdom has earlier failed to address.