Saudi King names new successor in gov’t shakeup

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday named his powerful interior minister as heir in a generational shift that also saw one of his sons promoted to second in line to the throne.

By making Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, crown prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, 30, deputy crown prince, King Salman has effectively decided the line of succession for decades to come in the world’s top oil exporter.

A royal decree removed Crown Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud as next in line to the throne and replaced him with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who headed a crackdown on Al-Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom a decade ago.

“We have decided to respond to his highness and what he had expressed about his desire to be relieved from the position of crown prince,” said a statement from the royal court, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

It added that Moqren, 69, was also relieved of his position as deputy prime minister in the world’s largest oil exporter, but insisted “he will always remain in high regard”.

The decree named “Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince” as well as deputy prime minister and said he will continue in his position of interior minister and head of the political and security council, a coordinating body.

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