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Sheikh Mohamed named new President of the UAE

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf Arab state by a federal supreme council on Saturday.

The UAE’s de facto leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf Arab state by a federal supreme council on Saturday.

The council, which groups the rulers of the seven emirates of the UAE federation, elected Sheikh Mohamed, known as MbZ, a day after the death of his half-brother, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who was also ruler of Abu Dhabi.

“We congratulate him and pledge allegiance to him as do our peopleā€¦and the entire country will follow his leadership to glory,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also UAE vice-president and premier, said in a Twitter post.

MbZ, 61, had already been wielding power for years in a period when Sheikh Khalifa suffered bouts of illness, including a stroke in 2014.

MbZ led a realignment of the Middle East that created a new anti-Iran axis with Israel. He also bolstered the military might of the UAE which, coupled with its oil wealth and business hub status, extended Emirati influence in the region and beyond.