Kuwait’s new ruler Sheikh Nawaf al Ahmad al Sabah on Wednesday named a UK-educated octogenarian as crown prince of the oil-rich Persian Gulf country.

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Sheikh Meshal al Ahmad al Sabah, 80, is currently deputy head of the country’s National Guard.

The choice of Sheikh Meshal, which must be approved by the Gulf Arab state’s parliament, “was blessed by the Al Sabah family,” state news agency KUNA said.

Security and defence brief

Sheikh Meshal, who has avoided political battles and public roles, spent much of his career helping to build the Gulf Arab state’s security and defence apparatus.

He has been deputy chief of the National Guard since 2004 and was head of State Security for 13 years after joining the interior ministry in the 1960s.

Sheikh Meshal attended the UK’s Hendon Police College.

His appointment must be approved by parliament which is expected to vote on Thursday.

Sheikh Nawaf, who assumed power following the death of his brother Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah last week, is expected to keep Kuwait’s oil policies unchanged and help Opec stabilise oil prices.

He takes the helm as Kuwait faces a liquidity crisis caused by low oil prices and the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.