ABU DHABI // The capital's main policymaking body was reduced in size from 18 to 14 members and one of the country's top national security officials was given a new appointment in a government reshuffle yesterday.
Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, the National Security Adviser, was appointed vice chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the emirate's de facto cabinet.
The council is chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Sheikh Mohammed's tenure as Chairman of the Council was renewed in an emiri decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The reformation of the council, which occurs every two years, signals a rising prominence for the national security apparatus.
Sheikh Hazza is Sheikh Khalifa's half-brother and a full brother to Sheikh Mohammed. He was appointed National Security Adviser in 2006. He is also the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The government reshuffle included a wider range of changes, with the council appearing to shrink in size and the heads of top government departments being appointed to new posts. The council includes many of Abu Dhabi's top government officials.
In 2007, Mohammed al Bowardi, the council's secretary general, introduced major reforms to the emirate's Government aimed at making it more accountable and transparent, just as it launched a series of plans to diversify the economy away from oil and introduced major development initiatives like the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan. Mr al Bowardi retained his post.
Ahmed Mubarak al Mazrouei, the chairman of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, was appointed head of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, replacing Sheikh Diyab bin Zayed.
Hamad al Hurr al Suwaidi was named chairman of the Department of Finance, replacing Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, who retained his membership of the council.
Majid al Mansouri, the secretary general of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the chairman of the board of directors at the federal nuclear regulator, was named to the council and appointed the head of the Department of Municipal Affairs.
It is unclear whether officials who have been appointed to head new government departments will retain their old posts.
The decree lists just 14 members of the Executive Council, which is reshuffled every two years. Previously, the council comprised 18 members.
Also absent from the list published in the new decree are Sheikh Saeed bin Zayed, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the chairman of Emiri Aviation, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif and Rashid al Hajeri, the former chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs.