Citing a statement from Sheikh Nawaf’s office, state news agency KUNA reported on Wednesday that Sheikh Meshal, deputy chief of the National Guard and a brother of the late emir, had been picked as the heir to Kuwait’s throne.
Now, the appointment of Sheikh Meshal, 80, must be approved by the parliament.
On Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said that although the assembly’s term would end on Thursday ahead of upcoming elections, it would hold an extraordinary session if the new emir names his choice of crown prince by Wednesday.
Kuwait experts describe Sheikh Meshal as a forceful figure, who steered clear of political battles and spent much of his career helping build the country’s security and defense apparatus.
“The emir will listen to his views, he will have an impact in that way,” said Kuwaiti political scientist and former UN envoy Ghanim Alnajjar. “His focus will be security, the judiciary and other domestic issues.”
Sheikh Meshal 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.
Kuwaiti journalist Faisal al-Qanae once described him as the “biggest enemy” of cronyism and lawbreaking.
The 83-year-old Sheikh Nawaf, the former crown prince of Kuwait, succeeded his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, who died on September 29 at the age of 91.
Sheikh Sabah was the architect of his country’s modern foreign policy and a mediator in some of the worst crises to grip the Persian Gulf region.