Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, will meet with members of the ruling family and several Qatari advisors today, government-funded channel Al Jazeera reports.
Over the past two weeks, several foreign diplomats have said that a transition of power in Qatar is imminent.
Citing “trusted sources” regarding its information about Monday’s meeting but not elaborating any further, Al Jazeera implied that the talks would revolve around the Emir’s succession plans.
Details about the upcoming changes in government are unclear. But the Emir is expected to cede power to his fourth son, 33-year-old Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, while the Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, is said to be stepping down.
If the reports are true, the succession would be a historic event for Qatar and the Middle East, a region where rulers normally reign until death.
According to AFP:
“The emir is convinced that he should encourage the new generation. He plans to transfer power to the crown prince, Sheikh Tamim, and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle to bring a large number of young people into the cabinet,” a Qatari official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Emir himself was a young 44 years old when he took power from his father in a bloodless coup on June 27, 1995, according to the Amiri Diwan’s website.
Though Al Jazeera’s report came in around 1am Monday, online reaction has already been building, with many Qataris expressing sadness about the potential end of Sheikh Hamad’s rule.
UPDATE | 12:20pm
Two hashtags in English and Arabic, #ThankYouHamad and #شكراً_حمد, expressing gratitude for the Emir and his rule are trending in Qatar on Twitter.
Here’s what people have been saying:
Credit: Photo by itupictures