World’s longest-serving prime minister passed away at Mayo Clinic hospital in the United States: Bahrain’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa died aged 84, The Wire reported on Wednesday.
Bahrain’s PM set the world record with his career’s longevity. As the royal palace announced, Al-Khalifa always remained a staunch ally of neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Over almost five decades, Sheikh Khalifa was a prominent politician in the Middle East. He was also a dominant figure in the Gulf island’s politics for much of his power.
The 84-year-old Sheikh passed away on Wednesday morning at Mayo Clinic hospital in the US. In August, Bahrain’s PM left the kingdom for what official media called at the time “a private visit abroad”. Earlier this year he spent time in Germany for unspecified medical treatment, returning to Bahrain in March.
Sheikh Khalifa’s stern response to pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011 stressed what for many was the defining characteristic of his career, namely a stalwart defence of the dynastic rule.
The burial ceremony will take place upon the repatriation of his body and the funeral will be limited to a specific number of relatives. Official mourning has been declared for a week and government ministries and departments will close for three days starting Thursday.