Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed Bin Salman to be next in line for the throne on Wednesday, replacing his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef.
This royal decree showed a historical mark in the politics of Saudi Arabia, gathering 31 out of 34 approval of the members of the council.
Already one of the kingdom’s most powerful leaders, Mohammed Bin Salman advocates a forceful Saudi foreign policy and is also leading a massive overhaul of the Saudi economy. As the country’s defense minister, he is in charge of Saudi Arabia’s two-year-old air war in Yemen, where more than 10,000 people have died in one of the world’s most dire humanitarian crises.
— بدر العساكر Bader Al Asaker (@Badermasaker) June 21, 2017
In an interview with the Washington Post on April, Mohammed Bin Salman mentioned Saudi laws which make it difficult for many women to work, travel, undergo medical procedures or go to university without the permission of a male relative, or spouse, are under review.
He presented Vision 2030 which key vision is to increase women’s participation in the workplace. After unveiling the project last year, three top jobs in finance, including the head of the stock exchange, have been filled by women.
His age also popularized him among young people, especially after he demanded more entertainment choices in an effort to decrease the number of Saudis vacationing abroad.
Since then, the conservative kingdom opened up to a series of activities that are known in the west like comedy shows and monster truck competitions.
“A lot of people are happy that a younger generation is coming to power, but those who are upset are the older generation,” said Joseph A. Kechichian, a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, who has extensive contacts inside the family. “Even if people are uncomfortable, at the end of the day this is a monarchical decision, and people will either have to accept the new arrangement or they will essentially have to keep their mouths shut.”