UAE President Names Son As Crown Prince Of Abu Dhabi

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Dubai: The United Arab Emirates’ president named his eldest son as crown prince of Abu Dhabi late on Wednesday, making him the oil-rich Gulf monarchy’s likely next leader and cementing his family’s hold on power.

President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan tapped Sheikh Khaled, 41, his jiu jitsu-loving son, as crown prince of the UAE’s richest emirate — a position traditionally held by the leader-in-waiting.

It was part of the biggest political shake-up since Sheikh Mohamed, 62, sometimes known as “MBZ” and the UAE’s long-time de facto ruler, became president last May following the death of his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa, who had been sidelined by ill health for years.

MBZ’s brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the owner of Manchester City football club, became vice-president, joining Dubai’s ruler and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the role.

Two other brothers of the president — Tahnoun bin Zayed, the UAE’s national security adviser and chairman of the ADQ sovereign wealth fund, and Hazza bin Zayed — became deputy rulers of Abu Dhabi, which controls the bulk of the country’s oil reserves.

MBZ’s ascension to the presidency last year prompted speculation over who would succeed him as Abu Dhabi crown prince, with Sheikh Khaled and Tahnoun both tipped for the honour.

The UAE, one of the world’s biggest oil-producers and an ally of the United States, Russia and China alike, has become a major power in the Middle East as traditional heavyweights such as Egypt and Iraq fell back in recent years.

Sheikh Khaled’s appointment was welcomed by other Gulf rulers including fellow energy giants Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as leaders of the UAE’s six other emirates.

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