The rulers of the United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday that they had unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as President of this hereditary country in the Arabian Peninsula.
The state-run WAM news agency reported that the decision was made by the rulers of the country’s seven Sheikhdoms at a meeting held at the Al Musharraf Palace in Abu Dhabi.
It comes after the late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday at the age of 73. The US-allied country has elected a president for the third time out of seven Sheikhdoms since the transfer of power in 1971.
The latest, which saw Sheikh Khalifa take responsibility for both him and Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, came after his death in 2004. The pace of Saturday’s announcement, just a day after Sheikh Khalifa’s death, was designed to show unity. And reassure the world of the stability of this important oil-and-gas-producing country that hosts Western military forces.
The WAM described the vote as “unanimous” among the country’s ruling elite, including the skyscraper city of Dubai.
We congratulate him, and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him, “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, said on Twitter after the vote. God willing.
The UAE as a whole is witnessing a three-day mourning period that will see business shut down across the country and performances in honor of Sheikh Khalifa. Electronic billboards show pictures of the late Sheikh in Dubai on Friday night, while the flag was flying with half the staff.
Sheikh Mohammed, 61, has been the de facto president of the United Arab Emirates since his stepbrother Sheikh Khalifa disappeared from public view in 2014 due to a stroke. Under his leadership, the UAE took a more military-centric approach to the region, joining Saudi Arabia in their bloody, years-long war in Yemen that is still raging.
Sheikh Mohammed, a longtime skeptic of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, may have organized a campaign targeting Islamists in the UAE after the 2011 Arab Spring and called on the West to take a tougher line on concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program and its support. Paramilitary groups throughout the region.
However, since the coronavirus epidemic, the UAE under Sheikh Mohammed has sought to restore relations with Iran and Turkey, which have supported Islamists in the region.
“The smooth transfer of power in the UAE reflects the moderation of institutional work and improved governance and their stability,” said Anwar Gargash, a senior Emirati diplomat.