United Arab Emirates - Leadership

Zayid's main support comes from the Bedouins (desert nomads) of Abu Dhabi, particularly those of the Alain region. Zayid travels throughout the country and maintains close personal contacts with his constituents. Although previous successions in Abu Dhabi have been violent, the emergence of the federation and the elevation of Abu Dhabi's ruler to the presidency has brought about stability. Moreover, the steady flow of oil income has eliminated the need for taxes and has provided sufficient resources to placate opposing groups. Zayid has used oil revenues to expand education, health and other social services and to solidify his support throughout the UAE. He has been a strong proponent of economic development, including numerous joint ventures with foreign-owned companies.

In 1996, Zayid was elected to his sixth five-year term as president. The nation staged gala festivities celebrating both the 30th anniversary of Zayid's accession to the presidency and the 25th anniversary of the UAE's foundation as a federation. The occasion had added personal significance for Zayid, who was recuperating from recent, successful surgery in the United States. In the weeks following his return, a succession of visits by both Arab and other foreign leaders had given evidence of the high regard in which the 79-year-old president was held in the international community. Zayid was reelected to a seventh term in 2001.

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