A worthy successor as the new UAE President

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has a long track-record of deep dedication to public service

President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (L) with UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, at Al Mushrif Palace in UAE. Abdulla Al Junaibi for the Ministry of Presidential Affairs

The rulers of all seven of the UAE's constituent emirates gathered at Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi on Saturday to discharge one of their most important national duties: the election of a new president. With Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed's passing on Friday, the union entered a period of mourning. The death of the president and ruler of Abu Dhabi brought senior figures from around the country to the capital to pay their respects, and to reflect on his legacy. According to the country's Constitution, the Federal Supreme Council, made up of the rulers of the seven emirates, is expected to elect the new president, and it has unanimously chosen Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"For many years, the people of the UAE have loved him," wrote Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, after the decision. "They loved him for his generosity, kindness and compassion for his people.”

All of these qualities have defined Sheikh Mohamed's years of service to Abu Dhabi and to the Emirates as a whole. For 18 years, Sheikh Mohamed was Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, and during that time he helped his brother, the late Sheikh Khalifa, transform the emirate into a highly developed society that looked after all of its people, citizens and foreign residents, with extraordinary care, in line with the vision of their father Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's founding father. The growth of Abu Dhabi's economy, fuelled by modernisation initiatives that emphasised openness and catalysed the global success of its sovereign wealth funds, dramatically elevated quality of life and ensured that the emirate's great wealth was re-invested in ways that would make it stronger for decades to come.

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His leadership helped transform the emirate into a highly developed society that looked after all of its people, citizens and foreign residents, with extraordinary care

The UAE has grown stronger, too. During Sheikh Mohamed's time as Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the country's military has become a sophisticated institution, capable of not only safeguarding the country from foreign threats, but also delivering humanitarian aid to other parts of the region. Sheikh Mohamed has spoken often of the need for the Emirates to be a beacon of stability, tolerance and worldliness for the region, and through his leadership that goal has increasingly been realised, evidenced by a host of achievements on the world stage, including hosting the Special Olympic, the launch of the Hope Mars mission, the signing of the landmark Abraham Accords and, looking forward, the preparations for hosting Cop28 next year.

With Sheikh Mohamed's influence, the UAE has cultivated a truly unique society, where traditional values are respected, but also made to work in harmony with a modern, agile and forward-looking society. The country's agenda is ambitious - especially as it enters the second half of its century. Recent successes in environmentalism, human rights, food security, education and economic diversification will be the staging grounds for unlocking its full potential for future generations. Under Sheikh Mohamed's leadership, the UAE can continue to push forward with full confidence.

Published: May 14, 2022, 4:00 PM
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