JNN Oct. 29th 2011. The 78-year-old prince who has been interior minister for nearly four decades succeeds Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who died last week in New York and was buried on Tuesday in Riyadh, AFP reported on Thursday
The royal decree read out on state television called on King Abdullah’s inner circle to recognize Nayef’s new status.
Video on Saudi TV showed the king sitting silent in an armchair, wearing a white headscarf and robe, with another cream-colored robe draped over his shoulders.
The crown prince was also named as deputy prime minister, but the appointment of new defense minister has been withheld. The post was left vacant by the death of Sultan, who served as defense minister of the kingdom for some 50 years.
Nayef would take over the throne of the oil-rich kingdom upon the death of King Abdullah, 87, who is recovering from his third operation in a year.
However, with the king’s health problems, the new crown prince is expected to assume an active role immediately.
Historically, in Saudi Arabia the king chooses his heir, but Prince Nayef was selected by Allegiance Council, a 37-member body composed of his brothers and cousins.
It is worth noting that Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz was earlier nominated to be the crown prince by king Abdul Aziz.