King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia has named his half-brother Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud as the heir to the Saudi throne.

The 78-year-old prince succeeds his brother Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who died on 22 October.

Prince Nayef has been Saudi Arabia’s interior minister since 1975 and was appointed second deputy prime minister in 2009. He will also take up the role of deputy prime minister.

Prince Nayef’s younger brother, Prince Salman, who is the governor of Riyadh, is expected to be appointed as second deputy prime minister, a position that is traditionally held by the third in line to the throne.

Succession in Saudi Arabia has since 1953 been passed to the sons of King Abdulaziz, the country’s founder.

Read the editor’s blog: The awkward question of succession.