DOHA, Qatar – Qatar's ruler says he has transferred power to the 33-year-old crown prince in a long-anticipated move that puts a new generation in charge of the Gulf nation's vast energy wealth and its rising political influence.
The 61-year-old emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said in a televised address Tuesday that the decision has been made to step down. Now, the British-educated crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will likely begin the process of putting together a new government that may be in direct contrast to the old guard leaders across the Western-backed Gulf Arab states.
The decision has been rumored for months. Qatar has given no official explanation, but it is widely believed that Sheik Hamad is suffering from health problems.