Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia with immediate effect, removing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud from the position.

In a statement carried by state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA), citing a royal decree on 21 June, King Salman relieved his nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef of the position of crown prince, a position he had held since 29 April 2015, and appointed Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman had been deputy crown prince since 29 April 2015.

The removal of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is the second time in a little over two years that a crown prince has been removed in the kingdom, with the prince having replaced former crown prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the youngest son of Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdulaziz, on 29 April 2015. Prince Muqrin had been installed as crown prince only months earlier on 23 January 2015, when King Salman assumed the throne following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

During the same reshuffle on 29 April, King Salman appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has played a key role in driving the direction of Saudi Arabia’s foreign and internal policy since his father became king in early 2015. He has spearheaded the kingdom’s military campaign in Yemen and has been the driving force behind Vision 2030, an ambitious programme of economic reforms that was launched in April 2016.

More to follow.