According to the Allegiance Commission Law, membership of the Allegiance Commission is restricted to the male children of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz al-Saud. In case of incapacitation or death of one of the founder’s sons, the current King appoints one his sons to the Allegiance Commission. The Allegiance Commission also includes one of the King’s sons and one of the Crown Prince’s sons (Al-Badi, 2008). Currently, the Allegiance Commission comprises thirty-five members, sixteen of whom are sons of King Abdul and nineteen are his grandsons (Katz).
As regards the appointment to the Commission of the sons of the founder’s deceased sons, the law provides that the current King will order them to choose up to three candidates from among them and then will make his own decision as to who of the chosen princes will become a member of the Allegiance Commission. If the sons of the deceased or unable do not designate any nominees from among them, the King will appoint whomever he chooses for the Commission’s membership.
At the current King’s request, one of King Abdul’s sons or grandsons will designate three of the male heirs of the deceased or unable, and one from among them will become a member of the Allegiance Commission. The King can order a son “Page # 4” of King Abdul to choose which one of the nominees he wants to become the Commission’s member. If one of King Abdul’s sons is not able to perform his duties, he must inform the current King of that in writing and designate one of his heirs for the Commission’s membership.
In case he does not inform the King whom he empowers to represent him in the Allegiance Commission or the King disapproves of the nominee he has chosen, the King has the right to make his own choice from among the sons of the incapacitated (Al-Badi, 2008). The new legislation also provides that the members of the Allegiance Commission must be at least twenty-two years old and have strong moral principles. The members of the Committee are appointed for four years non-renewable, but the membership term can be extended in case other brothers do not oppose it and the current King approves it (Al-Badi, 2008).
The new legislation also spells out the procedures to be followed by the Allegiance Commission if one or several of its members violate its provisions or fail to duly fulfill their duties. In this case, an investigation will be conducted by a special committee made up of three members of the Commission and chosen by its Chairman. After the matter is carefully investigated, the special committee will reach a conclusion and present it to the Commission. The Commission may come to an agreement that the member under investigation must be dismissed.
But such a decision has to be approved by no less than two thirds of the Commission’s members. The matter and the Commission’s decision will be then submitted to the King who will make a final decision on the future of the membership of the person in question (Al-Badi, 2008). The importance of the establishment of the Allegiance Commission and the more or less democratic way of selecting members to it is that the transfer of power in Saudi Arabia is no longer restricted to the most powerful and influential members of the royal family who used to decide who would govern the country, and that it enables all of the founder’s male
“Page # 5” heirs to have an equal say in the matter. Under the new rules the whole royal family is represented in the Allegiance Commission and can participate in the succession process which makes the process itself much more democratic and allows to choose the best candidate from among the royal heirs to govern the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MacLeod, 2007). Responsibilities of the Allegiance Commission
The Allegiance Commission Law sets forth the responsibilities of the Allegiance Commission and spells out the way in which the selection of a new Crown Prince is to be carried out and the special procedures that must be followed in a variety of cases, particularly in case of the current King or Crown Prince’s death or illness or when the King and the Crown Prince happen to die simultaneously (Al-Badi, 2008). According to article six of the law, when the King dies, the Allegiance Commission swears allegiance to the current Crown Prince and proceeds to the selection of the new Crown Prince.
Article seven sets forth that instead of appointing his own candidate for the position of the Crown Prince as it was before the new King will consult with the Allegiance Commission and then designate up to three nominees for the vacancy of Crown Prince. After the presentation of the King’s candidates to the Allegiance Commission, the latter proceeds to the designation of one of those candidates as Crown Prince (Al-Badi, 2008). Article seven also spells out the procedures to be followed in case of the rejection of all of the King’s nominees for the position of Crown Prince by the Allegiance Commission.
Under these circumstances, the Commission will select its own candidate and designate him a Crown Prince. However, the King may oppose the Allegiance Commission’s nominee. In this case, the Commission must proceed to the election of either its own candidate or the King’s nominee. The candidate securing the majority of votes will be designated as the new Crown Prince of the Kingdom. Article nine provides that the official appointment of the now Crown “Page # 6” Prince must take place within thirty days after the new King accedes to the Saudi Arabian throne (Al-Badi, 2008).