Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed elected UAE president: official media
The United Arab Emirates' long-time de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as president on Saturday, official media said, a day after the death of former leader Sheikh Khalifa.
Sheikh Mohamed was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, WAM news agency said, after years of calling the shots from behind the scenes while his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa was sidelined by poor health, after suffering a stroke in 2014.
Sheikh Mohamed, often known as 'MBZ', met members of the Federal Supreme Council, made up of rulers of the UAE's seven emirates, as the oil-rich country enters a period of mourning for his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa.
His ascension, which was widely expected, formalises his position as leader of the desert state of 10 million.
Under his low-key direction, the UAE has put a man in space, sent a probe to Mars and opened its first nuclear reactor, while using its oil-funded clout to develop a more assertive foreign policy.
Closely allied with Saudi Arabia, it has emerged as a leader of a reshaped Middle East since the retreat of traditional powers and the reduced involvement of the United States, forging ties with Israel and joining a war against Iran-backed militants in Yemen.