Kuwait names Crown Prince as new Emir after Sheikh Nawaf's death

Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah was named as successor

By Reuters

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File Photo: SPA / AFP
File Photo: SPA / AFP

Published: Sat 16 Dec 2023, 3:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Dec 2023, 5:28 PM

Eighty-three-year-old Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah — believed to be the world’s oldest crown prince — was named Emir of Kuwait.

Sheikh Mishal, who had already assumed some key constitutional duties of the emir in 2021, has spent most of his career in Kuwait's security and intelligence apparatus.

The deputy prime minister and minister of state for cabinet affairs made the announcement on Saturday after the death of Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Shortly after Kuwait's royal court confirmed Sheikh Nawaf's passing. Condolences poured in from Gulf countries. In the UAE, a three-day mourning period was declared.

Who is Sheikh Mishal?

A father of 12, Sheikh Mishal becomes Kuwait's 17th ruler. He will have a year to name a new crown prince amid speculation on whether he will appoint an heir from a younger generation.

The choice of crown prince will reflect "internal ruling family dynamics," said Bader Al Saif, a history professor at Kuwait University.

"Whether Kuwait witnesses its first generational shift in decades or not... the country will need to deliver on various fronts."

Sheikh Mishal was deputy chief of the Kuwait National Guard from 2004 to 2020, and was named crown prince when Sheikh Nawaf took power.

He spent many years in the interior ministry, rising through the ranks to head the department of general investigation from 1967 until 1980 where he was credited for strengthening its function as a state security service.

"With a career in the security bureau and national guard, Sheikh Mishal is an insider-outsider," said Al Saif on X, formerly Twitter.

"He was 'in the room' close to 3 of the previous 4 emirs on daily matters without" being in government, he said.

In 2016, Sheikh Mishal travelled abroad and underwent a "successful operation", but details of the treatment were not disclosed.

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