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Kuwait's emir appoints new crown prince

The emir had one year following his accession to the thrown to choose the heir apparent
Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmed al-Sabah (C) turns a symbolic equipment during the opening of the Al-Zour oil Refinery on 29 May in al-Zour, south of Kuwait City (AFP/Yasser al-Zayyat)

Kuwait's emir has appointed Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Sabah as crown prince, the state news agency Kuna said on Saturday.

Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah became the emir of Kuwait on 16 December, following the death of Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.

The emir had one year following his accession to the thrown to choose the heir apparent. It was also required that the nominee chosen for crown prince be a senior member of the al-Sabah family.

The former emir appointment as crown prince in 2006 had broken a tradition of alternating the throne between the al-Jaber and al-Salim clans of the royal family. 

The two clans are descendants of Jaber al-Sabah and Salim al-Sabah, two former emirs whose father, Sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah, is considered the founder of modern Kuwait. The Kuwaiti constitution dictates that the country's rulers must be descendants of Sheikh Mubarak.

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Kuwait has the only elected parliament in the Gulf, but the emir remains the head of state with power over virtually all affairs in the country.

Last month, the emir dissolved parliament for up to four years in a move that analysts fear could threaten the country's unique semi-democratic political system. 

At the time, the emir said that the Gulf state's National Assembly would be suspended, as well as several articles of the constitution, in order to review the “democratic process” potentially until 2028.

The move cames after years of political deadlocks and reshuffles.

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