DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The rulers of the United Arab Emirates announced Saturday that they unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as president of the hereditary kingdom on the Arabian Peninsula.
The state-run WAM news agency said the decision was made by the rulers of the country’s seven emirates at a meeting at the Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi.
This follows the death of late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Friday. The transition of power is the third time the seven emirates have chosen a president since the nation became an independent nation in 1971.
The last was Sheikh Khalifa to succeed him and Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, after his death in 2004 a month later. Just a day later, the pace announced on Saturday appeared to be aimed at a show of solidarity and reassurance to the world of the stability of a major oil and gas producer with Western militaries.
WAM described the vote as a unanimous vote by the rulers of the country’s emirate, which also includes the skyscraper-filled city of Dubai.
“We congratulate him, we pledge our allegiance to him, our people pledge allegiance to him,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter after the vote. “He leads the whole nation in the way of glory and honor, God willing.”
A three-day mourning period is being observed across the UAE, when businesses across the country will close and performances in the name of Sheikh Khalifa will cease. Electronic billboards showed images of the late sheikh in Dubai as the flag flew at half-staff on Friday night.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.