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Saudi King Names Son as First Heir

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him first-in-line to the throne and removing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef,the country’s counterterrorism czar from the line of succession.

The monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from his title as crown prince and from his powerful position as the country’s interior minister overseeing security.

Mohammed bin Salman already oversees a vast portfolio as defense minister and is spearheading economic reforms. The young prince was little known to Saudis and outsiders before Salman became king in January 2015. He had previously been in charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the crown prince.

Following the announcements, Saudi Arabia’s stock market was up by more than 3.5 percent in mid-day trading.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, 33, was also named Wednesday as the new interior minister tasked with counterterrorism efforts and domestic security. His father is the governor of Saudi Arabia’s vast Eastern Province, home to much of the country’s oil wealth and most of its minority Shiites. He previously served as an adviser to the interior and defense ministries.

The royal decree issued Wednesday stated that “a majority” of senior royal members — 31 out of 34 — from the so-called Allegiance Council support the recasting of the line of succession.

The Allegiance Council is a body made up of the sons and prominent grandsons of the late King Abdul-Aziz, the founder of the Saudi state. They gather in secret and vote to pick the king and crown prince from among themselves.

After the decrees were announced, Saudi TV aired footage of the new crown prince kissing Mohammed bin Nayef’s hand and kneeling before him. Mohammed bin Nayef is heard telling him: “I will rest now, and God help you.”

Extracts from Yahoo News