Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz issued a royal decree October 8 detailing rules for implementing the Kingdom’s new succession law.
The law, which was announced in October 2006, formalizes the royal succession and aims to ensure a smooth transfer of power. Previously, the King had the sole right to select the Crown Prince. Under the new system, the King will nominate a Crown Prince, and the Allegiance Commission will vote on the candidate.
The new bylaw outlines who can become a member of the Allegiance Commission, which chooses future kings and crown princes. It also stipulates what should be done if a member of the Commission dies and how the crown prince should be selected.
As per the succession law, the Commission consists of the sons of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the founder of the modern Kingdom. According to the new bylaw, if a son is deceased, incapacitated or disinterested in serving on the Commission, then the membership passes to one of his sons. The potential member must be at least 22 years old and be a man of good reputation.
The bylaw stipulates that members of the Commission will serve fixed four-year terms that can only be renewed with the agreement the other Commission members and approval of the King.
If a member of the Commission fails to perform his duties, then a panel of three fellow members will investigate the violation and submit a report to the Commission. In the event that two-thirds of the members decide that the violation merits dismissal, then the matter will be submitted to the King.
Upon the death of the King, the Allegiance Committee will meet immediately to name the Crown Prince as King. The new King then has 10 days to submit a letter to the chairman of the Allegiance Commission naming his choice for Crown Prince or asking the Commission to nominate someone to the office. The Commission then has 10 days from receipt of the King’s letter to choose a nominee.
Referring to the appointment of a medical panel to report on the health of the King, Crown Prince or Commission member, the new bylaw states that the panel’s meetings would be secret. Medical reports are to be prepared at the Commission’s venue and signed by all members of the medical panel.
The Secretary-General of the Allegiance Commission will be responsible for all of its financial and administrative affairs. The Secretary-General will hold the rank of Minister, while his deputy will hold the rank of Excellent.
Read a translation of the Allegiance Institution Law
Read a translation of the new bylaws to the Allegiance Institution Law