- Title: FILE: Saudi Prince Muqrin named second-in-line to succeed king
- Date: 27th March 2014
- Summary: (*** FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ***) WIDE OF SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY DANCING AL-ARDHA TRADITIONAL WAR DANCE VARIOUS OF PRINCE MUQRIN DANCING WITH SWORD PRINCE MUQRIN AND PRINCE CHARLES DANCING PRINCE CHARLES DANCING TRADITIONAL ARDHA WAR DANCE
- Embargoed: 11th April 2014 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Royalty,Royalty
- Reuters ID: LVA3ZY6S6KJU50K0AT2X6YUSQQ1X
- Story Text: Saudi Arabia's Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief in the conservative Islamic kingdom, has been appointed deputy crown prince, making it likely he will one day become king.
The appointment. announced on Thursday (March 27) makes Muqrin, the youngest son of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud, next in line to succeed King Abdullah in the world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam after his half-brother Crown Prince Salman.
"Prince Muqrin is granted allegiance as deputy crown prince, a crown prince if the position becomes vacant and to be given allegiance as king of the country if both the positions of crown prince and king become vacant at the same time," a royal court statement said.
Muqrin, who trained as a fighter pilot in Britain in his youth, is seen as likely to continue the cautious economic and social reforms begun by King Abdullah, said analysts.
King Abdullah turned 90 last year and Crown Prince Salman is 78.
Muqrin already holds the position of second deputy prime minister, a role to which he was appointed a year ago and was traditionally but informally seen as being equivalent to crown prince in waiting.
However, there is no formal line of succession in Saudi Arabia beyond the king and crown prince and some analysts had speculated it would pass to another member of the ruling family. The role of deputy crown prince is a new creation.
Under rules governing the succession, drawn up by King Abdullah a decade ago, a new monarch is empowered to select an heir himself from within the ruling al-Saud family, so long as an internal council agreed to his choice.
Crown Prince Salman and that family body, the Allegiance Council, have accepted Muqrin as the deputy crown prince, SPA reported, indicating he will automatically become Salman's heir when King Abdullah dies.
Muqrin, a graduate of the British Royal Air Force Academy and former military pilot, was born in 1945 according to the Saudi embassy in Washington. He has also been governor of Hail and Medina provinces and a special adviser to King Abdullah.
By making Muqrin second-in-line to rule, King Abdullah is also delaying the moment when the al-Saud must make the difficult decision over how to move the succession to the next generation of the family.
As Muqrin is younger than some of his nephews who might otherwise qualify to become crown prince or king, his appointment would appear to rule them out of the running.
The fact the Allegiance Council formally agreed to the appointment is also significant. Set up by King Abdullah in 2006 to help clarify the kingdom's opaque succession process, it was not formally used in the appointments of either Crown Prince Salman or his predecessor, the late prince Nayef.
That had led some analysts to question whether it would ever become an effective instrument of decision making in the ruling family.
The announcement gives more assurance to the kingdom's long-term succession process at a time when Riyadh sees itself as being an island of stability amid conflict and political turmoil across the Middle East.
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