Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Monday appointed Abdullah ibn Ahmed Zainal Alireza as minister of commerce and industry. He replaces Dr. Hashim Abdullah Yamani. According to Arab News, a royal decree issued by the king said Yamani has been relieved of his position "at his request."
However, observers claimed Yamani stepped down following harsh criticism over rising inflation in the kingdom. Yamani was among officials who was attacked in the Saudi press when inflation amounted to 7 percent last month, its highest level in the country in more than a quarter of a century.
The new minister Alireza, who hails from a distinguished business family, has been hitherto a state minister in the Cabinet. Before that he was the chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Additionally, Alireza led the team that negotiated the Kingdom’s accession to the World Trade Organization.