A Saudi prince known as rebellious member of the royal family resigned on Wednesday from a commission in charge of selecting the oil-rich kingdom's future kings.
Talal bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud, the king's half brother, on his official website that he submitted his resignation to King Abdullah. He didn't give reasons.
The resignation indicated a power struggle within the ruling Saudi family. Talal criticized what he called a monopoly on Saudi power by an unnamed faction within the royal family in remarks published in 2007.
The 35-member Allegiance Commission of the sons and grandsons of Saudi Arabia's founder was formed in 2006 to ensure smooth transfer of power. Abdullah is 87.
Last month Crown Prince Sultan died and was replaced by conservative Prince Nayef, who is 78. Nayef would assume the throne upon the death of the king, who is recovering from his third back operation in less than a year.
The Allegiance Commission picked Nayef, a choice reserved for the king up to now.
Traditionally, the position of heir to Saudi Arabia's throne has been passed down to the sons of the kingdom's founder, Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, but they are aging, and succession could become complicated. There are believed to be some 6,000 Saudi princes, dozens of whom could be considered contenders in the line of succession.