UAE's rulers elect Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed As President

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UAE's rulers elect Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed As President

Rulers in the United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday that they unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al NahyanMohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the president of this hereditarily ruled nation on the Arabian Peninsula.

The WAM news agency said the rulers of the country's seven sheikhdoms made the decision at a meeting held at Al Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi.

It comes after the late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday at age 73. The transition of power marks the third time this nation of seven sheikhdoms has elected a president since becoming an independent nation in 1971.

After his death in 2004 sheikh Khalifa took over for both his and Sheikh Mohammed'sMohammed's father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The speed of Saturday's announcement, just a day after Sheikh Khalifa died, appeared to show unity and assure the world of the stability of this crucial oil- and gas producing nation that hosts Western military forces.

WAM described the vote as unanimous among the rulers of the country's sheikhdoms, which also includes the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai.

After the vote, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter that they congratulate him, and they pledge allegiance to him, and their people pledge allegiance to him. The whole country is lead by him to take it on the paths of glory and honor, God willing.

The UAE as a whole is observing a three-day mourning period that will see businesses shut across the country and performances halted in Sheikh Khalifa's honor. Electronic billboards showed the late Sheikh's image in Dubai on Friday night as flags flew at half-staff.

Sheikh Mohammed, 61, had been serving as the UAE's de facto president since a 2014 stroke saw his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa disappear from the public view. Under his leadership, the UAE adopted a more military-focused approach to the region, joining Saudi Arabia in their bloody, yearslong war in Yemen that still rages to this day.

Sheikh Mohammed has been suspicious of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, likely organizing a campaign targeting Islamists in the UAE after the Arab Spring, and urging the West to take a harder line toward Tehran over concerns about its nuclear program and its support for militant groups throughout the region.

Since the coronaviruses, the UAE under Sheikh Mohammed has tried to rehabilitate ties to Iran and Turkey, which has supported Islamists in the region.

Anwar Gargash said that the smooth transition of power in the UAE reflects the sobriety of institutional work and the advanced level of governance mechanisms and their stability.