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Politics: Established by King Abdelaziz (Ibn Saud) in 1932, the kingdom – an absolute monarchy – is the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) giant in terms of population, territory, oil wealth and its claim to religious authority. Saudi Arabia is ruled by King Salman Bin Abdelaziz, Ibn Saud’s sixth son to assume the throne. At 82 on 31 December, Salman has broken with Al-Saud tradition to assure the succession of his line, replacing the experienced Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdelaziz as crown prince with his favoured son, the now 32-year-old Mohammed Bin Salman.
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