Riyadh, Jan 23: After the death of his 90 year old elder half-brother, King Abdullah, Salman bin Abdulaziz is the new king. The latter was already declared the crown prince in June 2012. He was the third heir to the throne after his two elder brothers died in 2011 and middle of 2012.
Salman has also served as the longtime governor of the capital Riyadh and the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister.
The new king is said to have a progressive mindset and a practical outlook like his late brother. However, he is said to be suffering from several health ailments in the recent years and may not serve the throne for a long time.
Unlike European monarchies that handed over the throne across generations, the Saudi throne was passed between the sons of King Abdulaziz, who founded the modern-day Saudi Arabia in 1932.
His own sons Saud, Faisal, Khalid and Fahd each became king in the 20th century; Abdullah, later took the throne when Fahd died in 2005.
The crown prince of King Salman will be his younger brother Prince Muqrin, who is the youngest surviving son of King Abdulaziz. Prince Muqrin was appointed the deputy crown prince last year when the kingdom acted to set its stone its structure for the future.
Muqrin, too is considered to be progressive in thought process like his brother.
It was decreed by the King in 2006 that when the last of Abdulaziz's sons was dead, a new King will be chosen from his grandsons by a council of senior Saudi princes. This will be reformative in itself, especially since this has never happened in the history of Saudi Arabia.
Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, the son of a crown prince who died, is considered a leading contender after being appointed Interior Minister in 2012