DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Qatar's ruler says he has transferred power to the 33-year-old crown prince in a long-anticipated move that puts a new generation in charge of the Gulf nation's vast energy wealth and its rising political influence.
The 61-year-old emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said in a televised address Tuesday that the decision has been made to step down. Now, the British-educated crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will likely begin the process of putting together a new government that may be in direct contrast to the old guard leaders across the Western-backed Gulf Arab states.
The decision has been rumored for months. Qatar has given no official explanation, but it is widely believed that Sheik Hamad is suffering from health problems.
Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.