With steady and intense steps within a few years, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (37 years) continues his progress in the path of leading the kingdom as he reached the position of the prime minister which was usually held by the king of the country.
On Tuesday 27 September of this year, Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz (86 years old), issued a royal order requiring his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to assume the position of prime minister after he was his deputy.
With this royal order, the King excluded the Crown Prince from the provision of Article No.56 of the Basic Law of Governance which states that “the King is the Prime Minister, and members of the Council of Ministers assist him in performing his duties”. The King reconstituted the Council of Ministers to be headed by the Crown Prince provided that the King presides over government sessions if he is present.
Who is Prince Mohammad bin Salman?
Prince Mohammad bin Salman holds a bachelor’s degree in law from King Saud University and was ranked second in his class. He received his general education in the schools of the capital, Riyadh, and was among the top ten in the Kingdom at the high school level, according to some information on his biography transmitted by the official Saudi Press Agency.
After graduating from university, bin Salman established commercial companies before starting government work as a full-time advisor in the Experts’ Committee in the Council of Ministers in April 2007 and a special advisor to the Prince of Riyadh in December 2009.
In March 2013, he assumed the presidency of the Court of the Crown Prince at the time, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, and in July of the same year a royal order was issued appointing him as a general supervisor of the office of the Minister of Defense in addition to his work.
By a new royal order, in April 2014, he became a minister of state and a member of the Council of Ministers. In January of the following year, in addition to his previous work, the king appointed him as Minister of Defense, Head of the Royal Court, as well as a Special Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques with the rank of minister.
In June 2017, he was appointed Crown Prince, and on Tuesday, September 27 of this year, he became Prime Minister by royal order.
Prince bin Salman also chaired the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, and made many changes in social, economic, cultural, judicial and sports fields.
Bin Salman and the New Wave of Reforms
On February 8, 2021, Prince bin Salman considered that the Kingdom’s intention to issue the Personal Status Law was part of a “new wave of reforms”. Indeed, the Council of Ministers approved the law on March 8.
On August 2, 2019, Saudi Arabia approved extensive amendments to ease restrictions on women, including equality with men in the right to obtain a passport and travel outside the country with the abolition of the condition of the guardian consent, as well as an equal retirement age for men and women of about 58 years.
According to the Saudi authorities, more than 40 princes from the ruling family, ministers and businessmen were arrested on November 4, 2017; on charges of financial corruption and money laundering as part of the anti-corruption process.
In the field of cinema, the Saudi authorities decided on December 11, 2017 to allow the opening of cinemas after a ban that lasted more than three decades, and they are expected to open in March 2023.
As for sports, Saudi families began entering sports stadiums for the first time in January 2018.
On February 14, 2018, it was decided to allow women to start their business and benefit from government services without the need for the approval of a male guardian.
With these intensive steps on multiple tracks, in May 2020 the Saudi newspaper, Al-Riyadh, described Prince bin Salman as “the leader of modernization who is strides confidently towards a prosperous future and a diversified economy capable of withstanding shocks.”
The Kingdom’s Vision
Bin Salman is the driving force behind a plan to reform a country that was highly conservative and dependent on oil revenues. The reforms helped diversify the economy, and bin Salman launched an ambitious investment plan known as Saudi Vision 2030, with “the goal of making the Saudi economy based on investment, in addition to not relying on oil as a basic and sole income.”
Among the most prominent of his huge projects, in the midst of his quest to diversify the Kingdom’s economy based on oil, is the construction of the huge futuristic “NEOM” city, at a cost of $500 billion.