Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan [Source: Reuters]
The United Arab Emirate’s de facto ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as president on Saturday by the Federal Supreme Council, the state-run WAM news agency said, after years of calling the shots from behind the scenes while his half-brother President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was sidelined by poor health.
The rulers of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms made the decision at a meeting.
It comes after Sheikh Khalifa died on Friday at age 73.
After his election, Mohamed expressed appreciation of the “precious trust” placed in him by members of the council, WAM added.
It described the vote as unanimous among the rulers of the country’s sheikhdoms, which also includes the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai.
“We congratulate him and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him,” Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said on Twitter after the vote. “The whole country is led by him to take it on the paths of glory and honour, God willing.”
Hours later, US President Joe Biden congratulated Al Nahyan on being elected. “I congratulate my long-time friend Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his election as President of the United Arab Emirates,” Biden said in a statement, adding that he looked forward to working with the leader “to further strengthen the bonds between our countries and peoples.”