Saudi Arabia’s push for reforms may face an internal backlash and there is no guarantee the drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will succeed, one of the biggest oil investors in the Middle East, France’s Total, said on Thursday.

“You don’t change into a secular regime just like that,” Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told an event in London.

Last week, bin Salman said the kingdom was moving towards a “moderate, open” form of Islam, blaming Iran for fuelling extremism.

“We are returning to what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world,” he said at an economic forum in Riyadh.

While most of Saudi Arabia’s young population, roughly 70 percent of the total, support the reforms, the older generation might be reluctant to accept such changes, he said.


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Featured image courtesy of AP