Former Saudi Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz was named king early Friday local time, following the death of his 90-year-old half-brother King Abdullah, Reuters reported. They are sons of the late King Abdulaziz, who founded the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some view King Salman, 79, as more progressive and secular than his late brother and might try to reverse some of King Abdullah's limited political and social reforms, NBC News reported. The new Saudi king and his brothers are known as the Sudairi Seven, the inner circle of Saudi Arabia’s elite. King Salman’s 69-year-old half-brother and former head of Saudi intelligence Muqrin was named the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia early Friday, BBC News reported.
A succession of King Abdulaziz’s sons has ruled Saudi Arabia since his death in 1953. The royal family declared an “unchangeable” line of succession for King Abdullah in March 2014 before his death, which means the oldest family in Saudi Arabia is likely to reign for decades to come, according to the Wall Street Journal.
King Abdullah, who Forbes magazine has called the 11th most powerful person in the world, died of a lung infection after being hospitalized for several weeks, Saudi television announced. The late king took the thrown in 2005, following the death of his brother King Fahd, according to NBC News. King Abdullah was the fifth of his brothers to take power. The late king suffered poor health and frequent hospital visits in recent years, according to BBC News.