As the nation mourns the death of former President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, his half-brother is elected as the new president by the Federal Supreme Council.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been elected as the new president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a day after the death of former leader Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
Mohamed bin Zayed was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, becoming the ruler of the oil-rich country founded by his father in 1971, the state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
Often known as 'MBZ', Mohamed bin Zayed met members of the Federal Supreme Council, made up of rulers of the UAE's seven emirates, as the country enters a period of mourning for his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
WAM described the vote as unanimous among the rulers of the country's sheikhdoms, which also includes the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai.
“We congratulate him, and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him," Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said on Twitter after the vote.
“The whole country is led by him to take it on the paths of glory and honor, God willing.”
A more assertive foreign policy
Mohamed bin Zayed's ascension, which was widely expected, formalises his position as leader of the desert state of 10 million.
Under Mohamed bin Zayed's low-key direction, the United Arab Emirates has put a man in space, sent a probe to Mars and opened its first nuclear reactor, while developing a more assertive foreign policy.
He also bolstered the military might of the UAE which, coupled with its oil wealth and business hub status, extended Emirati influence in the region and beyond.
The transition of power marks only the third time this US-allied nation of seven sheikhdoms has selected a president since becoming an independent nation in 1971.
The people of the Emirates are united in grief as we mourn the loss of our leader and President, Khalifa bin Zayed. My brother and mentor, and the UAE’s first son, we were blessed by your strength, wisdom and leadership. May God have mercy on your soul and may you rest in peace.— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) May 13, 2022