The new Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Than, who has just succeeded his father, formed a new government on Wednesday.
Sheikh Hamad seemed keen to assure his audience that the country would not change its policy but said that it was normal for a new team to choose a “new style”.
This “new style” has already been in evidence with the departure of influential Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani. Al-Thani, a member of the royal family, was Foreign Minister from 1992 to 2003 and Prime Minister from 2007-2013; he took a leading role during the Arab Spring, when Qatar strove to play a pivotal diplomatic role in the region. His reputation had been growing to such an extent that the out-going emir preferred to pass power to his son before there was time for a change in the balance of power.
A new chapter
Despite the departure of the Prime Minister, the new emir seems to be sticking with many of the same policies as his father, who in 18 years of power saw the Gulf country rise to global prominence.
New faces have appeared in several departments in accordance with the wishes of the former emir, who said he wanted “to give power to the next generation”. However, many senior ministers were returned to their positions, including the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Energy and Industry and the Minister of Islamic Affairs.
In his inauguration speech Sheikh Tamim warned: “The change of the emir does not mean that the challenges and responsibilities change.”
Nabil Ennarsi, a specialist on Qatar, told euronews: “The new head of State of Qatar ensures that the development of the country remains a ‘top priority’ for his government.”
Under the new leadership, whatever its style, a new challenge awaits the emirate: to enhance the popularity of its leaders with the people.