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Haitham bin Tariq 'named successor' to Oman's Sultan Qaboos

Haitham bin Tariq 'named successor' to Oman's Sultan Qaboos
The former culture minister, 65, has been sworn in before the ruling family council on Saturday, according to local media reports [File: Tariq Al Ali/Reuters]

Oman has named Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the country's new ruler following the death of his cousin Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, according to Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Muscat.

The former culture minister has been sworn in before the ruling family council on Saturday, local media outlets al-Watan and al-Roya reported.

There was no official confirmation of the reports.

The Omani constitution stipulates that a successor must be named by the royal family within three days of the throne falling vacant. The sultan must be a member of the royal family as well as "Muslim, mature, rational and the legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents".

The late Sultan Qaboos, one of the Middle East's longest-serving rulers who maintained the country’s neutrality in the region, had been ill for some time and was believed to have been suffering from colon cancer.

The 79-year-old ruled Oman since overthrowing his father in a bloodless coup in 1970.

He had no children and had not publicly appointed a successor to rule the nation's 4.5 million people.

Oman observers had said the sultan's three cousins - including Haitham bin Tariq Al Said - stood the best chance.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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