The Outer

Kuwait crown prince Sheikh Meshal named new emir: State TV

By Manal Abdel Fattah

Kuwait’s crown prince, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was named the oil-rich country’s new emir after the death on Saturday of his predecessor Sheikh Nawaf, state television reported.

Kuwait’s cabinet names crown prince, his highness Sheikh Meshal… emir of the state of Kuwait,” the broadcaster said.

The late emir of oil-rich Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, died on Saturday, the royal court said, after three years in power. He was 86.

“With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn… the death of Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait,” said a statement aired on Kuwaiti state television.

State television had cut its regular programming and switched to a broadcast of a Koranic recital before the announcement.

In November, Sheikh Nawaf was admitted to the hospital “due to an emergency health problem”, according to the official KUNA news agency, which did not elaborate on his illness. He was later declared in stable condition.

Sheikh Nawaf was named crown prince in 2006 by his half-brother Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and took over as emir when Sheikh Sabah died in September 2020 at the age of 91.

He had to steer the economy through a crisis caused by a fall in oil prices in 2020.

The current crown prince, Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, another half-brother, is 83.

Kuwait — a conservative country is home to the most active and powerful parliament in the Gulf.

But repeated standoffs between elected lawmakers and cabinet ministers have stymied development efforts and scared off investors.

Following a succession of resigning governments and dissolved parliaments, Kuwait’s current cabinet is its fifth in a year.

He acknowledged the “serious” challenges in his inauguration speech and the government spent heavily — doubling public debt in 18 months — to guide the state through the Covid-19 pandemic.

He made few dramatic changes, however.

Kuwait has maintained its hardline stance on Israel even as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have established relations. It remains a diplomatic rarity in maintaining close relations with both Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran.

Mohammed al-Faily, an expert in constitutional law at Kuwait University, said Sheikh Nawaf was generally considered “a calm person who, when it calls for it, can take firm decisions”.

Born in 1937, Sheikh Nawaf was the fifth son of Kuwait’s late ruler from 1921 to 1950 Sheikh Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

He started his political career at the age of 25 as governor of Hawalli province, where he remained until 1978 when he started a decade as interior minister.

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