In an official announcement on Wednesday, the Saudi king appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince. He replaced the Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, a veteran security chief who led Saudi campaigns against the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda. Bin Salman was voted as an heir to the throne by 31 out of the 34 members of the Allegiance Council. The council is made up of the senior princes of the Saudi Royal Family and it is responsible for choosing the future king or the crown prince.

The Saudi royal family is believed as one of the richest ruling families on earth and is one of the most influential powers in the Arab countries.

Two of the holiest Islamic shrines, the Mecca and the Medina are situated in the Saudi Arabia and it is considered to be the religious center of the Sunni community. The country is the world’s largest oil producer and has maintained a cordial political relationship with the US and the UK.

Facts about the Prince and the Saudi royal family

  • The first king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz had dozens of sons from his multiple marriages. Currently, there are more than 15,000 descendants of the royal family.
  • Saudi Arabia has always been ruled by septuagenarian or octogenarian kings. The present King Salman is 81 years old and might retire soon due to health reasons.
  • After his retirement, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is the next man to occupy the king’s throne and he might have decades to rule his kingdom.
  • Prince Salman is known for his luxurious lifestyle and recently he made news by purchasing a luxury yacht from a Russian business tycoon at a whopping amount of $4.4 billion.

What impact might Saudi Arabia have in the future?

The newly appointed crown price is quite popular among the youth in his country and is known for his lavish lifestyle and Western beliefs.

Till date, before his succession to become the crown prince, he was responsible for leading the war situation with Yemen.

He also successfully managed the country’s energy policies and economic reforms. He has a progressive mindset who replaced the old and outdated Government officials with modern Western-educated leaders. An ambitious plan “Vision 2030” was proposed by him to lead the country to new heights in terms of economic growth.

He has also consciously maintained good relations with the US administration for political benefits.

Earlier this year, his younger brother Khaled was appointed as the US ambassador. However, this ally can get negative repercussions from the neighboring countries, especially Iran. The relationship of Saudi Arabia with other Gulf countries like Qatar and Yemen are also extremely volatile. The appointment of Bin Salman who is famous for his modern thinking and Western allies might increase the rivalry further.