Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has died at the age of 86.
The new emir will have one year to appoint a new crown prince, who should come from the new generation of the ruling family.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Kuwait's Constitution states that the ruler must be a descendant of the nation's founder, Mubarak Al-Sabah. But a tradition of alternation between the family branches of the Salem and the Jaber has long been observed.
A former emir, Sheikh Sabah, of the branch of the Jaber, put an end to this tradition by appointing as crown prince Sheikh Nawaf, another Jaber, effectively ruling out the Salem branch.
Kuwait has been plunged for several years into a deep crisis between the executive and legislative powers, which undermines hopes of reforms.
At the beginning of April, the small monarchy formed its seventh government in three years. A few days later, the now ex-emir dissolved Parliament and called new legislative elections.
With some of the largest oil reserves in the world, Kuwait is an extremely rich state where instability has slowed reforms and infrastructure development, like those in its much more locked-down neighbors. politically, foremost among which are Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The 4.5 million inhabitants, including 1.3 million Kuwaitis, regularly complain about the deterioration of infrastructure and public services.
Sheikh Nawaf died after being admitted to hospital in November due to an urgent health problem, according to the official KUNA news agency, which did not give details about his illness.
He was later declared in stable condition. Given his age, his health was often a concern during his tenure.
Sheikh Nawaf was named crown prince in 2006 by his half-brother , Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and took over as emir upon his death in September 2020.
Sheikh Nawaf will be remembered for his unique human qualities: discreet, pious, soft-spoken, said Bader al-Saif, professor of history at Kuwait University.