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Kuwait’s new crown prince takes oath before parliament

October 8, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2020 file photo, the new Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, waves after he was sworn in at the Kuwaiti National Assembly in Kuwait. The state news agency said Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, that the deputy chief of the National Guard, who spent years in the oil-rich country’s security services, was nominated as crown prince. The nomination makes Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah the heir apparent to the 83-year-old new emir. But lawmakers must approve the chosen successor during its final session on Thursday, ahead of the formation of a new government. (AP Photo/Jaber Abdulkhaleg, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2020 file photo, the new Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, waves after he was sworn in at the Kuwaiti National Assembly in Kuwait. The state news agency said Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, that the deputy chief of the National Guard, who spent years in the oil-rich country’s security services, was nominated as crown prince. The nomination makes Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah the heir apparent to the 83-year-old new emir. But lawmakers must approve the chosen successor during its final session on Thursday, ahead of the formation of a new government. (AP Photo/Jaber Abdulkhaleg, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2020 file photo, the new Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, waves after he was sworn in at the Kuwaiti National Assembly in Kuwait. The state news agency said Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, that the deputy chief of the National Guard, who spent years in the oil-rich country’s security services, was nominated as crown prince. The nomination makes Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah the heir apparent to the 83-year-old new emir. But lawmakers must approve the chosen successor during its final session on Thursday, ahead of the formation of a new government. (AP Photo/Jaber Abdulkhaleg, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Kuwait’s new crown prince took the oath of office on Thursday, according to Kuwaiti state TV, ascending to the post after the country’s parliament unanimously approved the ruling emir’s choice of successor.

Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber, the 80-year-old deputy head of Kuwait’s National Guard, offered brief remarks to lawmakers and ministers, promising to safeguard the country’s “constitution and democratic approach” as well as its “platform of peace and humanitarian work.”

The royal family has moved swiftly to assure a smooth transition of power in the tiny oil-rich nation following the death last week of ruling emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, a unifying figure in Kuwait who deftly navigated the region’s stark political and sectarian divides.

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Sheikh Sabah’s half-brother, the 83-year-old Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, assumed the throne and swiftly — in eight days — named his heir apparent.

The conservative choice of Sheikh Meshal, who spent his career in the interior ministry and is respected for his security acumen, appears to signal that Kuwait will preserve its current foreign policies and look inward to tackle new challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, drop in oil prices and depletion of its treasury.

As another half-brother and close confidant of the late Sheikh Sabah, experts say Sheikh Meshal’s promotion to crown prince entrenches the traditional ranks of the royal family. Despite Sheikh Meshal’s proximity to the levers of power, he has led a very private life and remains untainted by public feuds over corruption that have plagued many other top contenders.