AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The Jordanian government said Monday it had no previous knowledge of King Abdullah's decision to dismiss his half-brother, Hamzah, as crown prince and heir.
Spokeswoman Asma Khoder said the government was informed of the decision only after its announcement Sunday by the Royal court.
"The issue of inheritance of the throne pertains to the king only in accordance with the constitution ... By taking the decision to dismiss Prince Hamzah King Abdullah used his constitutional powers," Khoder said.
"The government considers that issue as a strictly private matter of the royal family," she added.
The unexpected move was announced in a brief statement aired on state-owned Jordan Television, saying only the monarch had decreed the removal of Prince Hamzah.
There was no mention of a replacement, but analysts expected Abdullah to name his 10-year-old eldest son, Prince Hussein, as heir to the throne.
Sources close to the royal palace also speculated the king would name one of his other brothers as a provisional crown prince due to his son's age.
King Hussein himself, dying of cancer, had replaced his brother, Prince Hassan, with his eldest son, Abdullah, as heir only three weeks before he died in February 1999.