Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Journey To UAE President Post

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a pro-Western moderniser who had aligned the Gulf Arab state closer to the United States and its allies. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan served as the president of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 3, 2004. 

Khalifa was born on 7 September 1948 at Qasr Al-Muwaiji, Al Ain, in Abu Dhabi (then part of the Trucial States), the eldest son of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. 

When his father, Zayed, became Emir of Abu Dhabi in 1966, Khalifa was appointed the Ruler’s Representative (the mayor) in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi and Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain. Zayed was the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region before he became the Emir of Abu Dhabi. A few months later the position was handed to Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.

On 1 February 1969, Khalifa was nominated the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and on the next day he was appointed Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defense. In that post, he oversaw the build up of the Abu Dhabi Defense Force, which after 1971 became the core of the UAE Armed Forces.

Following the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Khalifa assumed several positions in Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister, head of the Abu Dhabi Cabinet (under his father), Minister of Defense, and Minister of Finance. After the reconstruction of the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi Cabinet was replaced by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Khalifa became the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (23 December 1973) and the Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi (20 January 1974), under his father.

In May 1976, he became deputy commander of the UAE Armed Forces, under the President. He also became the head of the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s, and continued in this position until his death in 2022. The post granted him wide powers in energy matters. He was also the chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency.

Who can be the next president of the UAE?

The United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died aged 73 on Friday, state media said, after battling illness for several years.

The president of the oil-rich Gulf state, who was rarely seen in public, is likely to be replaced by his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who was already seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler.

“The people of the Emirates are united in grief as we mourn the loss of our leader and President, Khalifa bin Zayed. My brother and mentor, and the UAE’s first son, we were blessed by your strength, wisdom and leadership. May God have mercy on your soul and may you rest in peace.” his half-brother and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said on Twitter.

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