Saudi king's health opens door to various scenarios

Saudi king
# 05 January 2015 22:51 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The 90-year-old ruler has been diagnosed with pneumonitis, making it necessary for hospital doctors to provide him with a tube to allow him to breathe, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency

The recent admission into hospital of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz has raised questions about the political succession in the oil-rich Gulf state.

The 90-year-old ruler has been diagnosed with pneumonitis, making it necessary for hospital doctors to provide him with a tube to allow him to breathe.

Article 5 of Saudi Arabia's governing charter regulates power succession in the country.

In 2006, the king drew up a body – called the Allegiance Council – to select the king and crown prince.

The king must be a son of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdel-Aziz Al-Saud, according to Article 5 of the charter.

The most appropriate of these sons should be selected to rule in line with the principles of the Quran and the teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, the article reads.

The same article calls for the crown prince to assume the position of king when the king passes away, until the Allegiance Council can select a new monarch.

Article 6 of the Allegiance Council's bylaws stipulates that the council will support the crown prince's coronation when the king passes away.

This means that the incumbent crown prince Salman bin Abdelaziz will take over as king if King Abdullah dies. The crown prince will continue to function as king until Allegiance Council officials formally appoint him to the kingship.

Conflict occasionally erupts in Saudi Arabia over the selection of the next crown prince.

Two figures are currently vying for the post of next crown prince, namely, Emir Mutaib, King Abdullah's son and current Republican Guard minister, and Emir Mohamed Bin Naif, the incumbent interior minister.

Article 7 of the Allegiance Council's bylaws calls for the king to nominate several people for the post of crown prince. The council should then meet to select one of the nominees, according to the article.

The same article also stipulates that a crown prince should be selected by the council within 30 days of the king's nomination.

However, a decision by King Abdullah in March of last year eliminated these procedures. The decision made it necessary for the future crown prince to be appointed following the death – not before – of the incumbent king.

The decision also created a new post, that of "deputy crown prince," for which Emir Muqrin bin Abdel-Aziz, 69, has been selected.

"Emir Muqrin will be appointed crown prince in case the incumbent crown prince passes away," the decision read.

It also stipulated that the "deputy crown prince" would be appointed king if the incumbent king and crown prince both died at the same time.

This state of affairs leaves the political succession in Saudi Arabia limited to a number of scenarios.

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