The UAE’s Federal Supreme Council on Saturday elected Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the President of the UAE, according to the state-run WAM news agency.
This comes one day after UAE former president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 73.
Sheikh Mohamed, the UAE’s long-time de facto ruler, was elected as president after years of calling the shots from behind the scenes while his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa was sidelined by poor health.
Sheikh Khalifa was born in 1948. He took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the federation’s richest emirate. He was expected to be succeeded as the ruler of Abu Dhabi by his half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who suffered a stroke in 2014, following which he has rarely been seen in public, although he has continued to issue rulings.
The country of 10 million joined military campaigns in Libya and Yemen and broke ranks with much of the Arab world to establish ties with Israel in 2020.
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The bearded Sheikh Khalifa had cut a frail figure on his occasional public appearances, while his brother Muhammad bin Zayed hosted world leaders and led diplomatic forays abroad.