Supreme court to be established but Sharia law to retain central role.
The succession law, which does not apply to King Abdullah, who is in his mid-80s, or to his half-brother Crown Prince Sultan, “aims at streamlining the succession process,” the English-language Arab News said.
The transfer of power in Saudi Arabia, founded in 1932, is keenly watched by oil markets as the vast nation sits on one quarter of the world’s known reserves.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with no elected parliament or political parties and the population of about 23 million is ruled according to Sharia, Islamic law.
The succession law, which was announced in October 2006, establishes a new mechanism for declaring the reigning monarch or heir to the throne unfit to continue in their duties, either temporarily or permanently.
On the death of the monarch, the committee would immediately hold a meeting to name the crown prince as king and then the new ruler would have 10 days to inform the commission of his choice of crown prince.
Western diplomats have welcomed efforts to regulate succession in the Islamic kingdom, which they say is an attempt to avoid the leadership disputes which have erupted in the past.