Bahrain’s Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the world‘s longest-serving prime minister who has held the post since independence in 1971, died on Wednesday at the age of 84, state media said.
“The Royal Court is in mourning for His Royal Highness … who passed away this morning at Mayo Clinic Hospital in the United States,” said the Bahrain News Agency (BNA), adding that the country will officially mourn for a week .
The funeral ceremony takes place after the body is transported home from the United States and is restricted to a “certain number” of relatives in accordance with coronavirus restrictions.
During the mourning period, flags are hoisted at half mast and government ministries and departments are closed for three days.
Prince Khalifa was a controversial figure during his long tenure – and deeply unpopular with the Shiite majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
When Shia-led protesters occupied Manama’s Pearl Square for a month in 2011 before being evicted by Saudi-backed security forces, their main demand was for Khalifa to resign.
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