Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been appointed prime minister a post that is traditionally held by the king.
The 37-year-old son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 86, is already seen the de facto ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state.
An official told Reuters news agency the move was in line with the king’s previous delegation of duties to him.
“The crown prince… already supervises the main executive bodies of the state on a daily basis, and his new role as prime minister is within that context,” the official said.
Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst close to the royal court, tweeted that Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion “formalizes his actual role and eliminated previous protocol issues of seniority with other heads of government”, adding: “He ranks now as a head of government de jure, not just de facto”.
The king, who has been admitted to hospital twice this year, will continue to chair the cabinet meetings he attends.