Qatari television Al Jazeera reports that the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, will announce his abdication in a televised speech on Tuesday. The Emir, who is 61 years old and has suffered from health problems recently, will hand over power to his fourth son, Crown Prince Tamim, who is 33 years old.
Emir Hamad came to power through a palace revolution which overthrew his father, Emir Khalifa, on 27 June 1995. His reign has seen Qatar undergo a rapid development which has made the small country a key political and financial player in the region, whose 300,000 inhabitants enjoy the highest per capita income in the world.
The outgoing Emir has three wives and 24 children. Crown Prince Tamim is the fourth of his eleven sons, but the second son of his marriage to his second and most high-profile wife, Sheikha Mozah. Tamim replaced his elder (full) brother Jasim as heir apparent in 2003. The incoming Emir was educated in England and has two wives, three sons and three daughters.
Emir Hamad’s renouncing the crown will truly make 2013 a year of abdications, coming as it does after the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, which was announced on 28 January and carried out on 30 April, and the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, which was announced on 11 February and came into effect on the 28th of that month.
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