Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been named the kingdom’s prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle ordered by King Salman, according to a royal decree published by the official Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday. Prince Mohammed is already the de facto ruler of the world’s greatest oil exporter. His appointment formalises his role as the kingdom’s leader.
The crown prince, abbreviated MBS, has previously served as deputy prime minister and defence minister. His younger brother, Khalid bin Salman, who was deputy defence minister, will take over as defence minister. The royal decree on Tuesday did not state the reasons behind the appointment, but the state-run news agency SPA said that the king – who remains head of state – will continue to chair cabinet meetings he attends.
In May, the king was hospitalized for medical examinations and treatments, SPA reported at the time. The 37-year-old crown prince was already in charge of many of the kingdom’s major portfolios. Including the economy, defense, oil, and internal security.