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Kuwait's new emir names brother, a former intelligence chief, as crown prince

Sheikh Mishal (r) appears set to be Kuwait's next crown prince [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2020

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Kuwait's new crown prince is known as a low-profile intelligence chief.

Kuwait's new emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has selected his younger brother as crown prince, a man with long government, military and intelligence experience.

Sheikh Meshal was named on Wednesday as the emir's choice for crown prince, which "blessed by the Al-Sabah family" according to Kuwait state media. 

Two senior members of the Al-Sabah family were quick to pledge their loyalty to Sheikh Meshal, according to Al Jazeera, although his appointment still needs to be formally ratified by Kuwait's parliament.

Sheikh Meshal is the current deputy head of Kuwait's National Guard, having previously overseeing the country's intelligence services.

Known as a low-key and respected royal, Sheikh Meshal's experience in the interior ministry could see the current 83-year-old ruler delegate some of his domestic responsibilities to him, reports suggest.

"The emir will listen to his views, he will have an impact in that way," Kuwaiti political scientist and former U.N. envoy Ghanim Alnajjar told Reuters

"His focus will be security, the judiciary and other domestic issues."

The 80-year-old crown prince is said to have declined previous senior posts, according to the news agency, and known to be the "biggest enemy" of cronyism.

It follows a corruption scandal regarding senior members of the government that angered many in the Gulf state, who could face austerity measures after a downturn in oil prices.

Kuwait's economy could shrink by 7.8 percent this year due to the coronavirus crisis.

Dania Thafer, director of the Gulf International Forum, told Al Jazeera that Sheikh Meshaal is known a close ally of the current emir.

"He has a very close relationship with the Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and is viewed to have good relations with neighbours such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE," said Thafer.

Kuwait's parliament could ratify Emir Nawaf's choice for crown prince tomorrow.

Kuwait's late ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah died on 29 September in the US.

His half-brother, Sheikh Nawaf, was sworn in as the new emir on 30 September marking a new chapter for the Gulf state.

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