Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, has been appointed as the country’s newest prime minister, a position usually held by the king.
In Saudi Arabia, under Article 56 of the Basic Law, the King is the prime minister, but King Salman announced an exception to the rule when appointing his son on Tuesday Sep. 28.
The crown prince had previously served as the country’s defense minister and deputy prime minister.
Many already see the prince as the de facto ruler but the move “further cements the generational handover of power from the frail and aging King Salman to his favored son”, according to experts.
The King will still attend and run Cabinet meetings, according to the decree issued through the Saudi Press Agency.
The crown prince’s new position may grant him sovereign immunity in the upcoming trial over the death of Jamal Khashoggi, according to the Guardian.
The prince has faced backlash from the international community, especially after the US government concluded he had issued a capture or kill order for the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince’s policies, according to the New York Times.
In recent years, bin Salman has pushed the Vision 2030 project to diversify and transform Saudi Arabia’s oil dependent economy by 2030.
His most recent and ambitious project includes a sustainable 170 kilometer-long skyscraper city, known as the Line, in Neom, northwestern Saudi Arabia.