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UAE leader chosen after ruler's death

United Arab Emirates President Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan salutes in a photo taken last March.
United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- The eldest son of the late leader of the United Arab Emirates has been elected successor to his father, official sources told CNN.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, was chosen president by the country's federal council -- made up of the heads of the country's seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al Qaiwan and Ajman.

He replaces Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who died Tuesday.

The aged ruler had been a founding leader and the head of state of the UAE since its founding in 1971.

Khalifa Nahyan also has been a significant political figure in the country.

Along with his role as ruler of Abu Dhabi, he has been head of Abu Dhabi's Supreme Petroleum Council, which drafts oil policy, and the UAE's economic body.

Also, he is deputy supreme commander of the armed forces.

Sheikh Zayed Nahyan was buried Wednesday in a funeral attended by several other world leaders. Among them were Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Beginning in the late 1960s, the oil boom transformed Abu Dhabi into a cosmopolitan city, and prompted politically ambitious Nahyan family members to settle in the capital, where many of them obtained positions in the expanding emirate and federal bureaucracies.'s Caroline Faraj contributed to this report.

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