The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has handed over power to his son, the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Rumours had been circulating for days that Sheikh Tamim, 33, was preparing to succeed his 61-year-old father.In a speech broadcast on Qatar television, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said it was time for a new generation to take over.
Sheikh Hamad seized power from his father Sheikh Khalifa in a bloodless coup in 1995, with the support of the armed forces and cabinet, and also neighbouring states. Since then the emir has introduced some political and economic liberalization
Qatar has been dominated by the Al Thani family for almost 150 years.