The 5 Countries Preparing to Fill a Big Vacancy at the Top

For democracies, the peaceful transition of power is the hallmark of stability. For autocracies, it’s a never-ending source of anxiety. Here’s a quick tour of some of the most interesting succession stories currently unfolding.

Saudi Arabia

Shocking absolutely no one, 31-year old Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is now Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and next in line to the throne. King Salman, MBS’ father, has held that throne for just 2.5 years, having succeeded his half-brother King Abdullah in January 2015. The day after Salman assumed power, he appointed his son defense minister, and the prince has since taken charge of the kingdom’s historically ambitious Vision2030 project to modernize the Saudi economy.

Some within the royal family had hoped that Mohammed bin Nayef, the crown prince that MBS replaced, might block the young man’s rise. Bin Nayef is believed to have been placed under house arrest now that the king has moved MBS into his place. Expect the 81-year-old King Salman to abdicate in favor of his son in the next few months, allowing the father to smooth his son’s transition. It’s a crucial moment as Saudi Arabia faces intensifying challenges. The kingdom is still involved in a war in Yemen that isn’t going well, and MBS’ snap decision to isolate Qatar and potentially unwind the Gulf Cooperation Council has still to play out. But the larger question is how the kingdom will adapt to a world in which oil prices are unlikely to recover the lost gains of the past three years for the foreseeable future.

Read more at TIME.