The leaders of the UAE’s numerous sheikhdoms have picked a new president in a display of unity. It was unsurprising that the half-brother of the recently dead president was chosen so quickly.
The leaders of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates declared on Saturday that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would succeed his half-brother as president.
As reported earlier President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday after years of ill health, during which time Mohammed bin Zayed, also known as MZB, was the de facto in charge.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai’s skyscraper-studded city, congratulated him and pledged devotion to him, saying in a statement: “We congratulate him, and we swear allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him.”
Mohammed expressed gratitude to the members of the Federal Supreme Council for their “precious trust” in him.
The UAE’s direction is unlikely to shift much following MZB’s official appointment as president.
In recent years, the UAE has participated in the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as well as a US-led campaign to “normalize” relations with Israel, for which MZB was regarded as the driving force within the UAE.
His predecessor, Khalifa, had a stroke in 2014 and had been absent from public life in previous years. His funeral was kept low-key on Friday, but the country is formally in mourning for three days.