File - A Saudi child holds up a national flag with picture of King Abdullah bin Abdelazziz during celebrations marking the 83rd Saudi Arabian National Day in the desert kingdom's capital Riyadh, on September 23, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE)
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Saudi Arabia's Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief in the conservative Islamic kingdom, has been appointed deputy crown prince, making it likely he will one day become king.The appointment makes Muqrin, the youngest son of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud, next in line to succeed King Abdullah in the world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam after his half-brother Crown Prince Salman. King Abdullah turned 90 last year and Crown Prince Salman is 78 .Crown Prince Salman and that family body, the Allegiance Council, have accepted Muqrin as the deputy crown prince, SPA reported, indicating he will automatically become Salman's heir when King Abdullah dies.By making Muqrin second-in-line to rule, King Abdullah is also delaying the moment when the al-Saud must make the difficult decision over how to move the succession to the next generation of the family.As Muqrin is younger than some of his nephews who might otherwise qualify to become crown prince or king, his appointment would appear to rule them out of the running.
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