KUWAIT CITY, KOMPAS.com – Kuwait’s new emir, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, was sworn in on Wednesday following the death of his half-brother and late ruler Sheikh Sabah.
Kuwait’s late ruler died in the US at the age of 91.
In his address to the National Assembly as Kuwait’s new emir, Sheikh Nawaf was visibly emotional a day after the death of the emir, an acclaimed diplomat, and mediator who ruled for 14 years.
"I promise you that I will do my best and everything in my power to preserve Kuwait, its security and stability, and to ensure the dignity and well-being of the people," the 83-year-old said after taking the oath of office.
Sheikh Nawaf called for unity against the challenges that face the region, and committed himself to Kuwait's "democratic approach" in the address before lawmakers, who sat socially distanced and in masks in line with coronavirus precautions.
Kuwait, unlike other Gulf states, has a lively political arena with a fully elected parliament that enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.
The remains of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah are expected to arrive in Kuwait City later Wednesday, on a flight from Minnesota where he had been undergoing treatment in hospital since July.
According to the royal court, the funeral will be "restricted to the emir's relatives" — a move likely designed to avoid large crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has already begun a 40-day period of national mourning.