Saudi Arabia’s ruling family named Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz is the new crown prince on Monday.
The royal decree came the day after the burial of the late heir to the throne, Prince Nayef, who died last week in Geneva and was the crown prince only since November. Prince Salman (76) is the third successor for the 88-year-old King Abdullah in the past year.
Prince Salman served for more than four decades in the influential post of governor of Riyadh and is the patriarch of family businesses that include stakes in the pan-Arab daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, an important media tool for Saudi’s rulers.
Nayef was considered wary of even the modest changes brought by King Abdullah, including pledges to allow women to vote and run in the next municipal elections in 2015. Prince Salman is also viewed a traditionalist, but not deeply tied to the ultraconservative establishment that gives the monarchy its legitimacy to rule.
Prince Ahmed was promoted from Deputy Interior Minister to take Nayef’s place leading the Ministry, which has played the front-line role in crackdowns on Islamist militants following the Sept. 11 attacks. The move appears to put Prince Ahmed, believed to be in his early 70s, in a position to be in line for the throne.