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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Sabah dies at 86 after three years in power

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who was in power for three years, died on Saturday, according to a royal court announcement. He was 86 years old. “With great sadness and grief, we mourn the death of Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait,” the AFP news agency quoted a statement broadcast on Kuwaiti state television as saying.

According to reports, state television interrupted its regular schedule to broadcast a Quranic recitation before making the announcement.

In November, Sheikh Nawaf was hospitalized with an emergency health problem, AFP reported, citing the official KUNA news agency. However, details about his illness were not disclosed, and his condition was later reported to be stable.

Given his age, concerns about his health were often raised during his tenure.

Sheikh Nawaf became Crown Prince in 2006, succeeded by his half-brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. He assumed the role of Emir following the death of Sheikh Sabah in September 2020 at the age of 91.

During his tenure, Sheikh Nawaf faced the challenge of steering the economy through the crisis caused by the significant fall in oil prices in 2020.

The current crown prince, Sheikh Mishaal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, another half-brother, is 83. The focus now is on whether the ruling family will bring in a younger generation of rulers.

Kuwait, a conservative country where sovereign powers are concentrated within the ruling Al Sabah family, hosts the most active and powerful parliament in the Gulf. However, persistent standoffs between elected lawmakers and cabinet ministers appointed by the ruling family have hampered development efforts and discouraged investors.

The current political impasse has led to repeated resignations of governments and dissolution of parliaments, resulting in Kuwait’s fifth cabinet formation in a year.

This political impasse has delayed needed reforms, blocked development projects, and left infrastructure and education in disrepair, leading to discontent among a significant portion of the population.

Born in 1937, Sheikh Nawaf was the fifth son of the late Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, ruler of Kuwait from 1921 to 1950. He began his political career as Governor of Hawally Province at the age of 25 and held the post until 1978, when he began a decade-long tenure as Minister of the Interior.



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