The Rite of Succession was a Klingon ritual which was required be performed by a prospective candidate in order to be considered for leadership of the Empire. Performed upon the death of the previous leader, the Rite was overseen by the Arbiter of Succession. The ritual was preceded by the elaborate Sonchi ceremony, which verified the death of the previous leader. In 2367, Chancellor K'mpec took the unorthodox step of naming Captain Jean-Luc Picard as the Arbiter after his death, since no Klingon could be trusted.
The initial phase of the Rite of Succession consisted merely of a proclamation that the challengers had been chosen. In ancient times, the Rite was a long, involved affair in which each prospective candidate performed the ja'chuq to prove their worthiness to lead the Empire. Picard chose to revive this rite as a delay tactic while investigating an assassination attempt on K'mpec's ship. Following this, the candidates were required to compete with each other to see who had the right to be Chancellor. Other rites were also required to be performed. This process took several months, even when there was only one candidate. When one challenger had defeated all of his enemies, he again met with the Arbiter of Succession in front of the High Council. If no more challengers stepped forward in this final ceremony, the victor became Chancellor. (TNG: "Reunion", "Redemption")