Saudi King Salman on Wednesday named his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, completing a gradual removal of powers from the previous prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who has been fired.
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According to a royal decree issued by the official Saudi Press Agency, Mohammed bin Salman, 31, was also named deputy prime minister, and maintains his post as minister of defence.
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Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran law enforcer well-regarded in the west for his efforts to combat Al-Qaeda, was also fired from his post as interior minister, the decree said.
The appointment of Mohammed bin Salman caps a tumultuous two years since Salman, 81, ascended the throne and named the thick-bearded Mohammed bin Salman deputy crown prince, or second in line to the throne.
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In a conservative kingdom used to ageing leaders, the rise of the young prince symbolises the hopes of a youthful local population, more than half of which is under 25.
The hard-charging Mohammed bin Salman’s public profile rapidly eclipsed that of the crown prince.