Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz was named second in line to the Saudi throne Thursday, in a decree that establishes unalterably the immediate succession order.
The Saudi Royal Court issued a decree appointing the 68-year-old ex-intelligence chief as deputy crown prince, the first to follow Crown Prince Salman, heir to the current Saudi monarch King Abdullah. Both crown princes are the King's half-brothers.
“Prince Muqrin is granted allegiance as deputy crown prince, a crown prince if the position becomes vacant and to be given allegiance as king of the country if both the positions of crown prince and king become vacant at the same time," the royal court statement said, firmly setting him up for the crown.
The statement added that the decree could not be altered “in any way or by any person, reason or interpretation.”
In interview with Ahram Online, Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, a Saudi journalist and columnist, commented on the precise and immutable wording of the decree. “This leaves no room for the current crown prince, Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, to change the person that will succeed him,” he said.
Prince Muqrin holds the position of second deputy premier since February 2013, a position that is historically a trade-off for the post of monarch.
Born in 1945, Prince Muqrin served as head of Saudi intelligence from 2005 to 2012, and as a governor of Hail province. He was trained in the United Kingdom as an F-15 jet pilot and is the youngest son of the founder of Saudi Arabia King Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
Saudi law stipulates that the monarch must descend from the kingdom’s founder and that he be male.