Saudi Arabia enjoys a continuous state of stability and security, and the ruling Al Saud family can ensure a smooth transition of power through an open mechanism, the Allegiance Council.
This was the strong message sent by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz when he issued a historic royal order appointing Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz as Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince. King Abdullah has become known for issuing such historic royal orders whenever the country is in need of a strict stance and penetrating vision.
The royal order comes as an extension to the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia introduced in early March 1992, which states that the crown is to be passed to the “most upright” of Saudi Arabia founder King Abdulaziz’s children, and then their children in turn. King Abdullah set up the Allegiance Council in October 2006; it includes all of King Abdulaziz’s sons or their representatives. Each member of this council has a single vote, with regulations giving further details about how the Allegiance Council can be activated, and how it operates.
Following the death of Crown Prince Sultan, King Abdullah gathered the Allegiance Council members and informed them of his decision to name Prince Nayef as a Crown Prince. The same thing happened when Prince Salman was appointed as Crown Prince. Both decisions came within the Allegiance Council system, which was non-binding on the King at the time.
This royal order is unprecedented, in the sense that it comes in compliance with, and as a practical implementation of, the Allegiance Council system. The way in which Prince Muqrin has been appointed as Deputy Crown Prince is in line with the royal order. First, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman sent a document to the Allegiance Council, on March 20, 2014, expressing their desire for the council to express its opinions about choosing Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Deputy Crown Prince. Second, the Allegiance Council met on March 27, 2014, and supported this choice with a more than three-quarters majority.
Throughout history, there have been different mechanisms and models for the transfer of power. While some countries in both the past and the present have suffered bloodshed, upheavals and chaos of varying degrees, things in Saudi Arabia are different. Transition is taking place through the well-known Allegiance Council system, which includes a voting process. That one quarter of the Allegiance Council members adopted a different stance is natural, and it confirms the eligibility of the three quarters who approved the decision of King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman. It also points to the transparency surrounding King Abdullah’s decision-making and the way he deals with the people of Saudi Arabia.
On the international level, the Kingdom is sending a message to the world confirming the stability of the country and demonstrating its ability to continue following the same moderate approach. It also demonstrates that a country with the weight and power of Saudi Arabia—not to mention its economic significance and vast network of relations and allies—will remain stable and in safe hands.
On the regional level, in light of the conflicts raging in a region where chaos is becoming the norm in some countries, the Kingdom is sending two important messages: To its friends, we are saying that our alliance is growing stronger and becoming more stable. As for our enemies, Saudi Arabia is telling them that their objectives will turn into defeat and their ambitions will come to an unpleasant end.
On the domestic level—and this is most important of all—the royal order expresses a sincere desire to inform the Saudi people in the most transparent manner about future arrangements for the transition of power. This confirmation of the future of the country’s leadership tells the Saudi people that tranquility and security will increase and develop in the near future. It also shows that the fabrications and disorder that some have been promoting have no element of truth to them. Moreover, the strength and future of the ruling establishment, which is the security valve for the homeland and its citizens, will always be secured by the leadership’s commitment to the public will.
Prince Muqrin’s past career qualifies him for the post of Deputy Crown Prince, as does King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman’s trust in him. Prince Muqrin is the youngest of King Abdulaziz’s sons and has served in several positions that have given him the experience and knowledge necessary to lead important tasks. He began his career as a pilot and served in the Saudi military before moving into the administrative sector. Prince Muqrin served as Governor of Hail and then later as Governor of Medina, where he was in direct contact with citizens’ problems and all government institutions. He subsequently went on to tackle more difficult and complex files, heading the Saudi General Intelligence Agency where he became well informed about national security issues and the details of regional and international conflicts. After that, he was appointed a special adviser to King Abdullah before ultimately being appointed as Second Deputy Prime Minister. As Second Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Muqrin dealt with all political, security and administrative files on the domestic and international level, chairing the country’s Council of Ministers on a number of occasions.
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz is committed to the welfare of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people, in line with his insightful vision for the future. He is seeking to consolidate and safeguard the comprehensive process of development that he has adopted with all state institutions in order to secure greater prosperity and stability for the homeland, and his appointment of Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz comes as part of this.