HH, The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has decided to step down and transfer power to his 33-year-old son, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Sheikh Hamad Al Thani
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Having only officially announced this at the beginning of the week, the 61-year-old emir surprised Qatar and the outside world with the announcement that he would cede power to his son, alongside Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the 53-year-old Foreign and Prime Minister of Qatar.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Today (Tuesday 25 June 2013), the announcement has been set in motion but the process of the transition of power is a two-day process, which started with a televised speech by Sheikh Hamad to the nation at 8 am on Al Jazeera Channel.

As quoted by Al Jazeera English, Sheikh Hamad said:

The time has come to turn a new leaf in the history of our nation, where a new generation steps forward to shoulder the responsibility with their dynamic potential and creative thoughts.

‘Our young men have proven over the past years that they are a people of resolve and fortitude; capable of accommodating the spirit of their time; realising its necessities fully and profoundly; coping with its newest; and above all contributing by their original thinking and creative initiatives.

‘Thanks to all this, I recall the words of the fourth Caliph, Ali bin Abi Taleb, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: ‘Teach your children other than that what you were taught; as they are created for a time other than yours.’

After the seven-minute speech, an event known as a ‘bay’a,’ in which prominent citizens welcome his successor, began. The new emir is expected to deliver his first speech on Wednesday 26 June 2013, the same day the cabinet is to resign, and the new one – with the exception of Prime Minister Hamad – is to be sworn in.

PM Sheikh Jassim Al Thani
Foreign and Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Al Thani

In 1995, Sheikh Hamad deposed his father in a bloodless palace coup that began the transformation of Qatar to a rich modern country. Thursday 27 June 2013 marks the 18-year anniversary of Sheikh Hamad’s ascension to the throne, in which he overthrew his father.

Marhaba joins the rest of the country in wishing the new Emir as he takes over the reins of power, and we thank HH Sheikh Hamad for his wise leadership.