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Kuwait appoints new mir after death of Sheikh Nawaf

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Prince Sheikh Mechaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (photo) succeeds his half-brother, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Radio-Canada

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Kuwait's 83-year-old Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was named the country's new emir on Saturday following the death of his predecessor, amid uncertainty and dissension in the wealthy Gulf State.

The Kuwaiti cabinet appoints Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Meshaal, Emir of the State of Kuwait, Kuwaiti television announced. State. He thus became the 17th ruler of the country.

His predecessor and half-brother, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, died at the age of 86 after a three-year term marked by repeated political conflicts at the head of this small oil-rich country , the palace announced in the morning.

The new emir, named crown prince in 2020, spent most of his career in the field of security and intelligence.

The octogenarian thus occupied the post of Minister of the Interior and responsibilities in the National Guard.

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He has largely stayed away from the political scene and the dissensions within the Al-Sabah ruling family, some members of which accuse each other of corruption or conspiracy.

This father of 12 children will soon be sworn in before Parliament.

Following the death of the Emir, administrations will be closed for three days and 40 days of mourning were declared.

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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.

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