Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will take over as the Arab country’s prime minister, and Prince Khalid bin Salman will take over as defence minister, according to a royal order cited by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Tuesday.
The crown prince, who is Saudi King Salman’s heir apparent, already possesses a wide range of authority and is regarded as the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom.
The Saudi Press Agency also stated that King Salman will continue to preside over the meetings of the Cabinet, Associated Press reported.
Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive plan to modernise its economy and eliminate its reliance on oil, known as “Vision 2030”, has been spearheaded by the 37-year-old crown prince, popularly known as MBS.
MBS has been associated with the murder of Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul.
According to US intelligence, the crown prince probably gave the murder his approval.
The prince denied ordering the killing but stated in 2019 that he accepted “all responsibility” for it because it occurred under his watch. Saudi officials have claimed that renegade Saudi security and intelligence personnel were responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. Although they have not been named, Saudi Arabian authorities claim to have jailed eight Saudi citizens for the murder.
Despite having previously pledged to declare Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the Khashoggi murder, US President Joe Biden visited the kingdom and had a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince MBS earlier this year, indicating the continued significance of relations with the greatest oil exporter in the world.