Saudi king restores stability with new heir
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is expected to name interior minister Prince Nayef as his heir after a mourning period for Crown Prince Sultan ends today, formalising a smooth succession in the world's biggest oil-producer.
Mr Nayef has already run the kingdom on a daily basis for extended periods in recent years, during absences of both King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan, who died on Saturday.
Given the king's age and health problems, the new crown prince is likely to assume a more active role immediately.
An Allegiance Council of the ruling family, set up by the king in 2006, is expected to approve a new crown prince after mourning for the sultan ends today. It can step in if anything befalls the ruler before an heir is named.
"The crown prince had been deteriorating for some time so they haven't been caught by surprise. It should be extremely orderly," said an insider.
"We had been waiting for this development."