As Qatar’s new Emir delivers his first address to the nation in his new role, reports of changes to Cabinet postings have been emerging throughout the day.
Here’s the latest:
UPDATE | Thursday, June 27, 6:01 am
Here’s the full text of his speech in English.
UPDATE | 6:22pm
Emir Tamim’s first address to the public essentially sought to reassure the international community and his constituency that a changing of the guard may mean new faces, but not necessarily a change in course for the country.
He said he intends to cut the fat in government in Qatar, reducing redundancies, ensuring only qualified people serve in posts and not squandering money.
He also made it clear that he fully respects and supports his father, the former Emir, who appears to be shifting a new role as close advisor to Sheikh Tamim.
UPDATE | 6:16pm
Emir Tamim: “We are Arabs and Muslims; we respect all religions and beliefs. We do not support segregation.”
He closes by thanking the public.
UPDATE | 6:15pm
Emir Tamim: “We’re not a political party.”
UPDATE | 6:12pm
Emir Tamim on international relations: “We do not live on the sidelines of life and we do not go adrift without destination…We are people with visions.”
UPDATE | 6:08pm
Sheikh Tamim mentions Qatar National Vision 2030 – which he said is aimed at transforming Qatar into a sustainable country that guarantees a high quality of life for its citizens.
“We are part of the Arab world and the Islamic world…We’re also part of humanity and the international community…”
“The realities on the ground have not changed… The challenge to diversify the source of income, to benefit the future generations, is still there.”
UPDATE | 6:05pm
Sheikh Tamim: “We must avoid arrogance. Vanity leads to mistakes.”
“…I hope to be worthy of this trust and continue the path laid out by this man, who is actually the builder of the modern state of Qatar and the pioneer of its awakening.”
UPDATE | 6:03pm
Emir Tamim: “The father his Highness has laid out a project for reform and development that included his vision as a leader and his boundless confidence in the people of the country.”
It was a calculated risk and it paid off, he added.
UPDATE | 6:02pm
In a confident voice, making eye contact with the camera, Qatar’s new Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani begins his address by thanking his father.
UPDATE | 5:12pm
According to “Al Jazeera sources,” Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah is expected to replace Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani as Foreign Minister.
Al Attiyah is Qatar’s current Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and before that, served as Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation from 2008 to 2011. According to Silatech, of which he is a board member, he has two bachelor’s degrees, in Air Science and in law from Beirut Arab University in 1993.
He also founded a private legal practice in 1995 called Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah Firm for Legal Consultations and Services. Silatech added:
With a distinguished background and career in law, H.E. Al-Attiyah furthered his education by earning a Master’s degree in Public Law in 1999 and a Doctorate in Law in 2006 from Cairo University.
The news comes shortly before Emir Tamim’s speech is expected to broadcast to the nation around 6pm.
After a whirlwind day that included ascending to power and accepting well-wishers at the Diwan, the new Emir of Qatar is expected to deliver his first address to the public tonight at 6pm, QNA reports.
Speculation has been rife over what changes 33-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will make to the Cabinet, with Al Jazeera Arabic reporting this morning that Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani has been named Qatar’s new Prime Minister.
Sheikh Abdullah has served as Qatar’s Minister of State for Interior Affairs since 2005, according to MOI’s website, is a distant relative of the emir, studied in the UK and has served in various positions in national security forces.
He will replace Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who serves as the combined Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and is widely credited for Qatar’s rapid gains in international diplomacy in recent years. It remains unclear who will take up the foreign affairs portfolio, although expectations are that Sheikh Tamim will bring a number of younger faces into government.
Meanwhile, as congratulations for Sheikh Tamim pour in from foreign dignitaries, Qataris and expats alike, the Advisory (Shura) Council readies itself for another term starting July 1, following an extension granted by the former Emir during his last night in power.
That extension means long-awaited legislative elections (which are some four decades in the making) have been postponed again, despite a promise from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2011 that they would be held in the second half of 2013.
Still, it is not that decree, but 61-year-old Sheikh Hamad’s final decision – to peacefully abdicate to his young son after 18 years in power – that many here at home and abroad will remember as part of his legacy as a maverick leader.
But analysts have been quick to point out that the surprise move, which apparently had been in the planning stages for years, according to Sheikh Hamad’s brother, is unlikely to be emulated by other GCC countries. Outside of Qatar, Gulf monarchs tend to follow a tradition of staying in office until they either die or are forced from power.
In a Gulf News op-ed titled, “Qatar will not be the same after Hamad,” Emirati political science professor Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla said it was unlikely the former emir would become a trendsetter in the region by abdicating.
The professor continues:
“Qatar is not going to be the same Qatar after the sudden departure of such a towering figure as Shaikh Hamad. Qatar did not have enough of him…”
“Qatar will be an inward-looking Qatar for a while and the younger emir will have to focus on the domestic agenda. This may be how Shaikh Hamad wanted it to be for the betterment of all.”
In his final address as Emir to the public yesterday, Sheikh Hamad did indeed speak of advancing the quality of life for all:
“As I am confidant that you are fully aware of your loyalty and of your Arab and Muslim identity; I urge you to preserve our civilized traditional and cultural values, originating from our religion, Arab identity and above all our humanity; as we believe that the Arab World is one human body; one coherent structure; it prospers if all its parts are prosperous.”
Sheikh Tamim will continue to receive those pledging allegiance to him at the Emiri Diwan from 8am to 11:30am this morning. His 6pm speech is expected to be televised live on Qatar TV, Al Rayyan TV and Al Jazeera.
Here is Al Jazeera English’s report about Sheikh Hamad handing “the reins of power” to Sheikh Tamim:
Credit: Top photo by Ben Philip; second photo courtesy of Interpol