Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has become the kingdom’s prime minister, a Saudi royal decree said on Tuesday.
Saudi King Salman ordered the cabinet reshuffle, with the king’s son Khalid bin Salman, the former deputy defence minister, as the new defence minister.
The cabinet reshuffle also saw the appointment of Yousef bin Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Bunyan as minister for education, state news agency SPA reported citing a royal decree.
The ministers keeping their positions unchanged are Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as minister for energy, Prince Faisal bin Farhan as minister for foreign affairs, Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih as minister for investment, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz as minister for interior, Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Jadaan as minister for finance.
Also keeping their ministerial titles are Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz as minister for the national guard, Walid al-Samaani as minister of justice, Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh as minister for Islamic affairs, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan as minister for culture, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal as minister for sports, Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah as minister for Hajj and Umrah, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi as minister for commerce.
In addition, Bandar bin Ibrahim al-Khorayef as minister for industry and mineral resources, Ahmed al-Khateeb as minister for tourism, Faisal bin Fadhil Alibrahim as minister for economy and planning, and Fahd bin Abdulrahman al-Jalajel as minister for health.
First female head of human rights watchdog
For the first time in Saudi Arabia, a woman has been appointed as the Chief of the Human Rights Commission, Middle East Monitor reported, citing the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a Royal Order to appoint Hala Al-Tuwaijri, who will replace Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad. Before holding this rank, she was the secretary-general of the Family Affairs Council since June 2017.
While the commission says it is an independent organisation, implying it is free from governmental influence, the chief is chosen by the Monarch and all members are appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers of Saudi Arabia. which is eventually decided by the Royal Order.
The chief of the country’s human rights watchdog holds the position of a minister. The outgoing head of the commission has been appointed as an advisor to the Royal Court also with the rank of minister.
Andalou Agency reported that during Al-Awwad’s tenure, 12 women participated in the council, excluding Al-Tuwaijri.
The Saudi Kingdom denies all allegations of human rights violations and says it respects the rights.