The United Arab Emirates’ Mohammed bin Zayed was picked on Saturday to be the wealthy Gulf country’s new president, succeeding his brother Khalifa who died the day before aged 73.
The Federal Supreme Council, the UAE highest constitutional authority, met Saturday in the capital Abu Dhabi and unanimously elected Mohammed as the country’s next president, the Emirati news agency WAM reported.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs said Sheikh Mohammed had been unanimously chosen, WAM reported.
After his election, Mohammed expressed appreciation of the “precious trust” placed in him by members of the council, it added.
The council consists of the rulers of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. Each emirate has a single vote in the council’s deliberations.
Mohammed, 61, acted as the country’s de-facto ruler of the regional powerhouse after Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014.
In recent years, Khalifa had rarely been seen in public. He was laid to rest Friday in Abu Dhabi at a low-key funeral attended by Mohammed and other sheikhs of the family.
Officially it was Khalifa who issued a 2020 decree formally ending a law on the boycott of Israel, yet it was Mohammed who was thanked for pushing the deal forward. Later in 2020, the UAE and Bahrain became the first Gulf countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel through US-brokered pacts, in what was a major diplomatic shift in the region.