Qatar emir resigns, hands over power to son

Sheikh Tamim
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

It took just seven minutes of a televised speech to explain a change that is spectacular for the entire Gulf region: In a first such step ever, a ruling emir voluntarily ceded power to his son, saying “it is time for a new generation.”

Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani on June 25 announced that his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim, will be the new ruler.

But the 61-year-old made no immediate mention of the public face of Qatar’s assertive foreign policy, prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, a veteran politician who had been expected also to step down.

“The time has come to open a new page in the journey of our nation that would have a new generation carry the responsibilities … with their innovative ideas,” Sheikh Hamad said.

The emir did not specify when exactly the change would take effect but a Qatari official had said the move, once announced, would be immediate.

Diplomats have said the emir, who overthrew his father in a bloodless coup in 1995, had long planned to abdicate in favor of 33-year-old Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim after he held power for 18 years.

The majority of political and economic analyst don’t expect any noticeable changes in the country’ internal and external policies.