AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah appointed his eldest son Hussein as his heir to the throne, a palace statement said on Thursday.
Hussein, 15, whose mother Queen Rania is of Palestinian descent, would "immediately assume the title and privileges of his post" his father stated in a royal decree that was issued on Thursday, the palace statement said.
The Jordanian Hashemite dynasty's tradition under the 1952 constitution gives the succession to the eldest son but the monarch retains the option of naming a brother.
Abdullah succeeded his father King Hussein who ruled Jordan for nearly five decades until his death from cancer on February 7, 1999.
The post of crown prince has been vacant since Abdullah in 2004 sacked his half-brother Prince Hamza as heir to the throne in a move that consolidated his power and paved the way for the succession of his young son.
Pro-U.S. ally King Abdullah has succeeded in bringing political stability to the country and gaining stature as a prominent Arab leader whose message of moderation has found an echo, especially in Western forums.
Many Jordanians see the Hashemite royal family as a unifying force that holds together a country many of whose citizens are Palestinians whose families settled after successive Arab-Israeli wars, placing the kingdom at the heart of the conflict.
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