Reformist prince steps down from body that appoints new Saudi rulers
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has stepped down from the Allegiance Council, the body established to oversee succession in the country.
Prince Talal, a half-brother of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and father of billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, is considered a strong supporter of reform in the kingdom.
In a statement on his website, Prince Talal announced his resignation, but gave no explanation for it. The Allegiance Council was created in 2006 to appoint the heir to the throne and was made up of representatives from the different branches of the family of King Abdulaziz al-Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia.
However, after the appointment of Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud as Crown Prince in late October without the involvement of the council, the body’s role remains unclear.
Prince Talal, who has a history of promoting reform in Saudi Arabia, objected to the appointment of Prince Nayef as Second Deputy Prime Minister in 2009, a position which put him in line to be Crown Prince after the death of Prince Sultan earlier this year.
In a faxed statement sent to Reuters in 2009, Prince Talal said, “I call on the Royal Court to clarify what is meant by this nomination [of Prince Nayef], and [say] that it does not mean that he will become crown prince.”
It is possible that after the resignation of Prince Talal from the council, one of his sons would fill the post.