Allegiance Council

Allegiance Council

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Encyclopedia
The Allegiance Council is the body responsible for determining future succession to the throne
Line of succession to the Saudi Arabian Throne
The order of succession to the throne of Saudi Arabia is determined by, and within, the House of Saud. It follows agnatic seniority, but a prince may be surpassed or another elevated. The Allegiance Council was created in 2006 to facilitate the royal transfer of power.King Abdullah is the current...

 of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. It was formed in 2006 by King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

. At the time of its formation, the Council's intended function was to appoint a Crown Prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 once a new King succeeds to the throne. However, with the death of Abdullah's heir Crown Prince Sultan in 2011, and the appointment of Prince Nayef as Crown Prince, the Council's role remains unclear.

History


Previously, under Chapter 2 of the Basic Law
Basic Law of Saudi Arabia
The Basic Law of Saudi Arabia is a constitution-like charter divided into nine chapters, consisting of 83 articles...

 promulgated by King Fahd
Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

, the appointment of the next in line was the sole prerogative of the King:

The appointment of a successor by the King was usually done with some form of informal consensus among members of the royal family
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

. However, after Abdullah succeeded Fahd as King, the behind-the-scenes battles over the future of the monarchy intensified, particularly between Abdullah and the Sudairi princes, including Crown Prince Sultan and Prince Nayef. Due to increasing uncertainty of succession beyond Sultan, King Abdullah issued the Allegiance Institution Law in 2006, which formally established the Allegiance Council. The Council gave additional voice to members of the Al Saud
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 when a new King selects his Crown Prince.

According to an October 2009 diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, the Al Saud describe the Council as a "codification of the unwritten rules that have governed the selection of Saudi rulers since the passing of King Abdulaziz in 1953."

The role of the Council was intended to take effect once Sultan succeeded to the throne. However, in 2009, when Sultan was gravely ill with cancer, Prince Nayef was appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister (a position for the crown prince in waiting), presumably to keep the position of Crown Prince within the Sudairi faction
Sudairi Seven
The Sudairi Seven, also spelled Sudairy or Sudayri, is the commonly used name for a powerful alliance of seven full brothers and their descendants within the royal family of Saudi Arabia. They are also known as the Al Fahd . They are sometimes referred to as the Sudairi Clan or the Sudairi faction...

. This has led to uncertainty over the role of the Council. The appointment was openly questioned by Prince Talal, a senior prince.

Role


Under the Allegiance Institution Law, the King nominates up to three candidates for the position of Crown Prince. The Allegiance Council then selects one of them as Crown Prince. If the Council rejects all of the King's nominees, it may nominate its own candidate. The Crown Prince will be then decided by a vote among the Council:
The Council also preempts the possibility of the King becoming incapacitated. In the event the King permanently loses his ability to exercise his powers, the Council will declare the Crown Prince as King. If both the King and the Crown Prince become permanently incapacitated, the Council will form a five-member Transitory Ruling Council to temporarily assume administration of the Kingdom. The Council will also select a new King within seven days.

Membership


The Council comprises all branches of the Al Saud
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 descended from the Kingdom's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud
Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia. He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud....

 ("Ibn Saud"). Members include surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz, grandsons whose fathers are deceased, incapacitated or unwilling to assume the throne and the sons of the King and Crown Prince. It currently consists of 33 members: 14 surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz and 19 grandsons, each representing his deceased or incapacitated sons. This was seen as way to diminish the influence of the seven Sudairi brothers, who could be easily outvoted in the Council. Despite this, the Sudairi are said to have influence over more than half the council members.

One of King Abdul-Aziz's sons, Prince Fawwaz, was a member at the Council's inception but died in 2008 without sons.

Prince Talal resigned from the Council three weeks after the appointment of Prince Nayef as Crown Prince in 2011. His resignation means one of his sons might take his position in the Council.

The Council is chaired by Prince Mishaal, who is not considered to be in the line of succession. Members swear an oath of allegiance to the King.

Sons of King Abdul-Aziz

Grandsons of King Abdul-Aziz
  • Prince Muhammad bin Saud (son of King Saud
    Saud of Saudi Arabia
    Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953 to 1964. He was removed from power by Faisal because of Saud's mismanagement and waste. He was the eldest surviving son of Ibn Saud and became Crown Prince in 1933. He died in exile in Greece.-Early life:Saud was born in 1902 in Kuwait...

    )
  • Prince Khalid al-Faisal (son of King Faisal
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

    )
  • Prince Muhammad bin Saad (son of Prince Saad)
  • Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki (grandson of Prince Turki I)
  • Prince Muhammad bin Nasr (son of Prince Nasr)
  • Prince Faisal bin Bandr (son of Prince Bandar, who is still alive)
  • Prince Saud bin Abdul-Muhsin
    Saud bin Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz
    Prince Saud bin Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is the governor of Ha'il Province since 1999. He is a member of the Saudi royal family. He is the son of the late Prince Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz , the highly regarded former Governor of Madinah....

     (son of Prince Abdul-Muhsin)
  • Prince Muhammad bin Fahd
    Muhammad bin Fahd
    Muhammad bin Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is Governor of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. He is a business partner of Al-Bilal Trading Company - a major conglomerate associated with construction and imports.-Early life and education:...

     (son of King Fahd
    Fahd of Saudi Arabia
    Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

    )
  • Prince Khalid bin Sultan
    Khalid bin Sultan
    Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation of Saudi Arabia. He led Saudi troops in the First Persian Gulf War and also controversially led the botched Yemen bombing in late 2009...

     (son of Prince Sultan)
  • Prince Talal bin Mansur (son of Prince Mansur)
  • Prince Khalid bin Abdullah
    Khaled bin Abdullah
    Prince Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is the oldest of the 22 children of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Despite being the eldest son of the Saudi king, the Prince is not in the Saudi line of succession.-Education:...

     (son of King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    )
  • Prince Muhammad bin Mishari (son of Prince Mishari)
  • Prince Faisal bin Khalid (son of King Khalid
    Khalid of Saudi Arabia
    Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1975 to 1982. He ruled during Saudi Arabia's oil boom years. In 1979, he had to deal with the Grand Mosque Seizure...

    )
  • Prince Badr bin Muhammad (son of Prince Muhammad)
  • Prince Faisal bin Thamir (son of Prince Thamir)
  • Prince Mishaal bin Majid (son of Prince Majid)
  • Prince Abdullah bin Musaid (son of Prince Musaid, who is still alive)
  • Prince Faisal bin Abdul-Majeed (son of Prince Abdul-Majeed)
  • Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Nawwaf (son of Prince Nawwaf, who is still alive)

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