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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed elected UAE president after brother’s death

DUBAI: The UAE’s long-time de facto ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as president on Saturday, official media mentioned, a day after the loss of life of former chief Sheikh Khalifa.

The 61-year-old was unanimously elected by the Federal Supreme Council, WAM information company mentioned, changing into the ruler of the oil-rich nation based by his father in 1971.

Sheikh Mohamed, usually referred to as ‘MBZ’, met members of the Federal Supreme Council, made up of rulers of the UAE’s seven emirates, because the nation enters a interval of mourning for his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa.

Sheikh Mohamed’s ascension, which was broadly anticipated, formalises his place as chief of the desert state of 10 million after years of calling the photographs whereas Sheikh Khalifa was sidelined by poor well being.

Under his low-key course, the United Arab Emirates has put a person in area, despatched a probe to Mars and opened its first nuclear reactor, whereas utilizing its oil-funded clout to develop a extra assertive international coverage.

Closely allied with Saudi Arabia, it has emerged as a frontrunner of a reshaped Middle East because the retreat of conventional Arab powers and the diminished involvement of the United States, forging ties with Israel and becoming a member of a battle towards Iran-backed militants in Yemen.

Official media had already named Sheikh Mohamed because the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s richest emirate, on Friday, inheriting one of many foremost titles held by Sheikh Khalifa who died at 73.

Sheikh Mohamed, sporting a lightweight gray kandura or gown, was a pall-bearer on the funeral prayers for his elder brother who was laid to relaxation in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Cemetery simply hours after his loss of life was introduced, in accordance with Muslim custom.

‘Running the show’

Flags are at half-mast across the UAE and companies and authorities places of work are closed for 3 days because the nation enters a 40-day interval of mourning for Sheikh Khalifa, who had dominated since 2004.

Sheikh Khalifa’s loss of life drew condolences from senior figures together with US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Iran, demonstrating the UAE’s various allegiances.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is to journey to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Emirati chief, his workplace introduced.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has put sports activities and leisure on maintain and several other nations have introduced intervals of mourning.

Sheikh Mohamed, who was named crown prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004, is the third son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan — the revered founding father of the UAE.

He has been serving as deputy commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, which controls the substantial funds of the emirate which sits on 90 % of the nation’s oil manufacturing.

The UAE, a former British protectorate, has gone from a desert outpost to a booming state in its quick historical past, fuelled by its oil wealth and Dubai’s rise as a buying and selling and monetary centre.

Sheikh Mohamed took a distinguished function after Sheikh Khalifa retreated from public view in 2014, when he had surgical procedure after a stroke. The explanation for his loss of life was not introduced.

The new president is prone to face larger competitors to UAE’s standing because the regional monetary hub, significantly from Saudi Arabia, and will toughen its stance on Iran, analysts say.

But “functionally it changes little; MBZ has been running the show almost from the get-go”, tweeted Ryan Bohl, a Middle East analyst at Stratfor Worldview.

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