May 23, 2018, 10:47 am IST
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Saudi King picks up young son as heir

Saudi King picks up young son as heir

 Jun 21, 2017

The King made this surprising move after firing the current crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who is the King’s nephew. He has also been fired from his post as interior minister who had earned his name as a tough law enforcer and well-regarded in the west for his efforts to combat Al-Qaeda.

The new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, very popular with the younger generation, will also hold the portfolio of deputy prime minister and continue to be the minister of defence.

Mohammed bin Salman has now become the first in line to the throne in a conservative kingdom which has been ruled by ageing leaders in their 70s and 80s. The rise of the young prince symbolizes the beginning of a change in the oil-rich Gulf country where more than half of the population is under 25. Prince Mohammed bin Salman's latest promotion and his meteoric ascent is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing in Saudi. He is a heartbeat away from ruling the most powerful country in the Arab world.

Even though Mohammed bin Salman’s military campaign in Yemen remains inconclusive and damaging, his bold decision in reforming the country’s administration by removing aging bureaucrats with young, western educated technocrats earned him huge popularity within the country. He has also set out an ambitious development plan, "Vision 2030", and announced plans to sell off part of the vast state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco.

However, his bid to curb the power of the conservative religious establishment is considered as risky.

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