RIYADH: King Salman of Saudi Arabia has removed the kingdom’s crown prince and named his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, next in line to the Saudi throne.
The move, announced early Wednesday, is a stark upheaval in the leadership of the wealthy kingdom, a key ally of the United States and the Arab world’s largest economy.
Prince Mohammed emerged from relative obscurity when his father, now 81, ascended the throne in 2015, and he has since accumulated vast powers, serving as defense minister, overseeing the state oil company and undertaking a vast effort to overhaul the Saudi economy.
His supporters praise him as hard-working and say he offers a hopeful vision for the kingdom’s future, especially for its large youth population. His critics have called him rash, inexperienced and power-hungry.
The royal reordering also brought to an end the career of the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, a nephew of the king who was widely respected by Saudis and their foreign allies for dismantling Al Qaeda’s networks inside the kingdom. Wednesday’s decrees removed him both from his place as next in line to the throne and from his post as interior minister.