King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has named Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz as Crown Prince and Deputy Premier of the Kingdom, following the death on Saturday of Crown Prince Naif.
The Saudi Gazette reported Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz will succeed Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Crown Prince. This puts him next in line to the throne.
Prince Salman, 76, is the half-brother of King Abdullah. He serves as the country's defence minister and will continue in that role alongside his new duties. Despite his age and known health problems Prince Salman in considered quite sprightly. According to the Telegraph he suffered a stroke and underwent major spine surgery in 2010.
Prince Salman becomes the third Crown Prince in eight months, but with each new successor the title passes to a younger man. Prince Salman is considered to be more moderate than his late brother who had a reputation as a hard-liner.
Prince Naif was in charge of security for 37 years so Prince Salman may face some challenges in filling the gap. According to the Jerusalem Post Michael Stephens, researcher at the Qatar-based Royal United Services Institute, said "Salman's going to have to do is try and get some influence over some of the religious establishment in the country." His late brother was known to carry much weight with Saudi clerics.