Dubai: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), shook up the country's top ranks on Wednesday, appointing his eldest son and brothers to top leadership roles.
The president's eldest son, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was appointed crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the country's capital and the richest of its seven emirates. The post traditionally signals who is next in line to the presidency.
Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of the British football club Manchester City, was named as the vice president of the oil-rich country alongside Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The appointment of Sheikh Khaled further centralizes power in Abu Dhabi, which has held the country's presidency since the founding of the UAE in 1971.
It also reflects a tendency toward sons over brothers for succession, similar to other Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia.
Cinzia Bianco, a research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Sheikh Mohammed kept "some power-sharing balance, but only within (Abu Dhabi's) Al Nahyan clan" by appointing prominent brothers to new roles.
Sheikh Mohammed, known as MBZ, was named president last year after the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa, although he had been the UAE's de facto ruler for years amid the latter's illness.