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Qatari emir to hand power to his son: Arab TV

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DOHA: The Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has announced to hand over power to Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Arab media reported on Monday.

The 61-year-old Sheikh Hamad has informed members of the ruling family and top advisers of his decision.

A formal announcement would be made later on Monday evening, a Gulf official said.

A cabinet reshuffle is also expected as part of the changes in the government line-up.

British-educated Sheikh Tamim, 33, has steadily acquired a prominent role in Qatar since his appointment as crown prince in 2003. He serves as chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s primary sovereign wealth fund, and headed Qatar’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.

Sheikh Tamim “is a legacy builder,” Michael Stephens, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in Doha, said by telephone prior to the announcement. “He’s not there to cause ruptures in the policy. He’s very much part and parcel of the initiative of his highness.”

In the past five years, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas producer bought stakes in Barclays Plc, the UK’s second-biggest bank, and Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe’s largest carmaker. It supported uprisings in Syria and Libya and lent $8 billion to Egypt’s post-Hosni Mubarak government. Qatar plans to spend $200 billion on infrastructure before hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup, the most-watched sporting event.

The rise of Sheikh Tamim, the fourth son of Sheikh Hamad, will be the first peaceful transfer of authority in the emirate since 1960. Sheikh Hamad overthrew his father, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani, in a bloodless coup in 1995. Sheikh Khalifa deposed his cousin in 1972.

Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human :) Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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