Kuwait’s new ruler Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Wednesday named Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad, deputy head of the country’s National Guard, as crown prince of the U.S.-allied OPEC member state.
The selection of Sheikh Meshal, which must be approved by the Gulf Arab state’s parliament, “was blessed by the Al Sabah family,” state news agency KUNA cited a statement from the emir’s office as saying.
Earlier two members of Kuwait’s ruling family posted messages on Twitter pledging allegiance to Sheikh Meshal as crown prince.
Sheikh Nawaf assumed power following the death of his brother Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad last week, at a time of tension between Kuwait’s larger neighbors Saudi Arabia and Iran and as the government tries to shore up finances strained by low oil prices and COVID-19.
Diplomats and analysts say that due to his low-key style and age, Sheikh Nawaf, 83, may delegate a larger portion of responsibilities to his heir apparent, who would have to act swiftly to tackle domestic issues.
The country’s parliament speaker has said if the emir announces a crown prince on Wednesday, then lawmakers would vote on his choice on Thursday, the last day of parliament’s term.