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Difficult succession ahead in the House of Saud

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Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre NOREF) published a brief study on the succession of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

According to author Stig Stenslie, a recognized expert on the subject, the Succession Act, promulgated in 2006 by King Abdullah does not apply to himself. In theory, therefore, it is one of the brothers of the present monarch who should first succeed him. The king appointed Prince Salman as heir and Prince Murkin as Deputy Prime Minister, putting him second in the line of succession. However, Prince Salman has gone mad and Prince Murkin is an illegitimate son of the dynasty’s founder. Therefore, both should be rejected by the royal family.

In such circumstances, the 2006 decree should then be applied: the next king would be appointed by an Allegiance Council, which has already been formed, comprising 15 of the founding king’s surviving sons, as well as 19 of his grandsons. In this case, it is unlikely that the third generation of royals will show the same sense of unity as the first two. Personal disputes may bring about a fragmentation of the dynasty. The current four generations consist of 4,000 princes.

Be that as it may, the impossibility of knowing right now who will succeed King Abdullah casts a serious doubt on the ability of the kingdom to face its challenges and to endure.

Saudi Arabia: The Coming Royal Succession, by Stig Stenslie, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), February 2014, 4 pp.

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