After serving for almost a decade as the ‘de facto’ leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was named the country’s new president this Saturdayone of the most developed in the Middle East and which seeks to become the main power in the region.
At 61, the mighty Mohamed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, was unanimously elected as the country’s third president since its founding in 1971 by the Federal Supreme Council, composed of the rulers of the seven different emirates that make up the UAE.
The event was held very discreetly and behind closed doors, one day after the death of the previous head of state, Khalifa bin Zayed, who died at the age of 73 and from which MBZ also inherited the title of emir of Abu Dhabi for being the crown prince.
MBZ had already been de facto leader of the Emirates since his half-brother Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014 that removed him from the public scene and from the decision-making process, and he was one of the drivers of the country’s recent political and economic turns in the last decade.
Despite the fact that the Council had a margin of 30 days to deliberate on the future leader of the Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed was appointed today “unanimously” in an unannounced meeting between the seven emirs of the UAE, held at the Al Mushrif palace in Abu Dhabi, reported the Emirati state agency WAM.
In the meeting, in which there were supposedly no discrepancies, the emirs expressed “their full confidence” in the leadership of Bin Zayed who, for his part, expressed his gratitude, WAM reported without providing details about the process.
So far it is unknown if an investiture ceremony will be held since the country is mourning the death of the previous president, who was buried yesterday in Abu Dhabi, also behind closed doors in an act attended only by the main authorities. .
“The smooth transition of power in the United Arab Emirates reflects the sobriety of institutional work and the advanced level of government mechanisms, as well as its stability,” summarized one of the diplomatic advisers to the Presidency, Anwar Gargash, on Twitter.
oath of allegiance
One by one, all the emirs of the country congratulated Bin Zayed on his appointment, including the prime minister and ruler of Dubai, Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who briefly served as interim president of the country after Khalifa’s death yesterday.
“We congratulate him, we swear allegiance to him and our people swear allegiance to him. The whole country is led by him to be led along the paths of glory, success and happiness, God willing,” Bin Rashid said through his account. Twitter official.
Likewise, the Arab countries and organizations of the Middle East – and also some Western countries – wished success to the newly appointed president and leader of a country that has been governing for years under the shadow of his stepbrother.
Bin Zayed has already had the first contact with other world leaders, who have sent him their condolences in telephone calls for Khalifa’s death.
Among the leaders who contacted him were King Mohamed IV of Morocco; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; US President Joe Biden; Russian leader Vladimir Putin and French head of state Emmanuel Macron.
Some of them, such as Egyptian President Abdelfatah al Sisi or the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tareq al Said, have already come to Abu Dhabi today to meet MBZ in person.
For his part, the president of France, whose country is one of the main arms sellers to the UAE, will visit the Emirati capital tomorrow, Sunday.
With the coming to power of Bin Zayed, expected for years, the new president will make first-hand decisions to continue with his project of positioning the Emirates as the main power -military, political and economic- in the Middle East, while also expects it to expand its alliances internationally.
It remains to be seen who will be named crown prince of Abu Dhabi, although all eyes are on his younger brother, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayhan, 51, best known for owning English Premier League team Manchester City. (I)