The former Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, has been elected the new President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He succeeds his half-brother Khalifa bin Zayed, who died on Friday. The heads of the country’s seven emirates unanimously elected the 61-year-old president on Saturday, according to the state agency WAM. He thanked him for the trust.
Because of the serious illness of his predecessor, Mohammed bin Zayed was already considered the actual ruler of the UAE. Khalifa bin Zayed died the day before after a long illness from a stroke at the age of 73. He was buried on Friday evening. He had been at the head of state since 2004, but was rarely seen in public. Khalifa bin Zayed was also the Emir of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates. Sheikh Mohammed also holds this post.
The new head of state has had a decisive influence on the politics of the oil and gas-rich Emirates for several years. Under his leadership, the country has developed into an important regional power in recent years. The Emirates joined the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which has been militarily active in the civil war-torn Yemen for several years. Mohammed bin Zayed has close ties with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. However, there are also conflicts of interest, especially in Yemen.
In 2020, the Emirates and Bahrain became the first Gulf states to sign an agreement establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. This rapprochement was also driven by Mohammed bin Zayed. It is primarily aimed at Shiite Iran, in which the Emirates see an archenemy. But economic interests also played a role. (apa)