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UAE president names son crown prince of Abu Dhabi

The post has traditionally signified the next in line to the presidency of the oil-rich and powerful Gulf sheikdom
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan gestures following a meeting with French Prime Minister at l’Hotel de Matignon, the official residence of prime minister, on 19 July 2022 in Paris (AFP)

The UAE's President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan named his son crown prince of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, a post that has traditionally signified next in line for the presidency of the oil-rich and powerful Gulf sheikdom. 

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed is the eldest son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. He sits on the powerful Abu Dhabi Executive Council and the Emirates national security body. The new appointment places the 43-year-old ahead of more established and senior Emirati royals for possible succession.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, often known as "MBZ" and the UAE's long-time de facto ruler, was named as president last May when his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa died after ill health sidelined him for years.

In a further shakeup, the Emirati ruler named his brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as vice-president of the UAE, alongside Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The 53-year-old Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the owner of Manchester City football club.

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Tahnoun bin Zayed, who is the UAE's national security adviser, was named as deputy ruler of Abu Dhabi along with Hazza bin Zayed, another brother of the president.

The security chief, who is known for his trademark aviator sunglasses, was appointed chairman of Abu Dhabi’s $790bn sovereign wealth fund earlier this month. Tahnoun already chairs the International Holding Company (IHC), a sprawling conglomerate whose $236bn market capitalisation makes it bigger than Walt Disney or McDonald’s.

Tahnoun and Mansour are two of six brothers, known as the Bani Fatima, born to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE, and his third wife, Sheikha Fatima. Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed is among them.

The UAE’s global heft has swelled in recent years. Dubai has attracted everyone from western businessmen and social media influencers to Russian oligarchs. Like its Gulf neighbours Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE has also benefited from rising energy prices, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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