Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan elected President of UAE

On May 14, the rulers of the United Arab Emirates declared that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had been officially elected President of the country.

The rulers of the country’s seven sheikhdoms made the decision at a meeting in Abu Dhabi’s Al Mushrif Palace, according to the state-run WAM news agency.

It comes following the death on May 13 of former President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Since becoming an independent nation in 1971, this US-allied nation of seven sheikhdoms has only chosen three presidents.

Sheikh Khalifa took over for both his and Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a month after he passed away in 2004. The haste with which the declaration was made on Saturday, only a day later, appeared to be intended to demonstrate unity and convince the world of the stability of this vital oil-and-gas producing country that also hosts Western military forces.

The rulers of the country’s sheikhdoms, which include the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai, voted unanimously, according to WAM.

“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 honor, God willing.”

In honour of Sheikh Khalifa, the UAE will observe a three-day mourning period, with businesses closed and performances suspended across the country. On Friday night, all electronic billboards in Dubai displayed the late sheikh’s image, and flags were flown at half-staff.