BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Kuwait's ruling al-Sabah family moved Friday to resolve the controversial succession to late Emir Jaber al-Sabah, whose ailing crown prince is unfit to rule.
A highly-informed Kuwaiti source said 200 prominent figures of the ruling family entrusted Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad, Kuwait's de-facto ruler for the past two years, to choose the appropriate way to dethrone ailing Saad al-Abdallah Salem al-Sabah, who is physically unfit to rule the oil-rich emirate.
Saad al-Abdallah was automatically designated emir last Sunday following the death of Jaber al-Sabah.
The source said in a telephone interview with United Press International in Beirut that Sheikh Saad's health condition does not allow him to even take the constitutional oath before parliament, let alone rule the emirate.
The Kuwaiti constitution includes no clause on power rotation, which is defined by the emirate's Inheritance Law, enacted by al-Sabah ruling family in 1962, a year after the constitution was ratified. The law cannot be amended by any authority.
The Kuwaiti News Agency, KUNA, reported that "a large number of al-Sabah family members converged on the residence of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad where they renewed the trust and confidence which the late emir had entrusted him and asked him to assume his responsibilities for leading the emirate to safe shores."
In an obvious acceptance of the family's expression of allegiance, Sheikh Sabah was quoted by KUNA as expressing appreciation to the trust placed in him and promising to fully assume his national responsibilities under the existing conditions which he said "necessitate closing ranks and unity in the interest of the nation."
If Sheikh Saad steps down, the ruling family will have to choose a new emir in line with the Inheritance Law.
The new ruler should take the constitutional oath before parliament to become sitting emir. The new emir will then have a year to choose a crown prince.