This Year UAE Would Be Holding Its Largest Election

At the end of this year, the UAE would be holding its biggest election until now with over 330,000 Emiratis being eligible to vote for the Federal National Council in October. The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities set up by the UAE constitution. Its first session was held on 2nd December, 1972, a year to the day after federation. It has 40 members. Among the 40 members, eight of them are women. Even the speaker of the house, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, is a woman.

The members of the Federal National Council represent the UAE population through each of the Emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah have six members, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four members.

The members are responsible for bringing up Emirati issues in front of the council for debate and put those apprehensions to ministers convened for questioning. The FNC’s main job consists of passing, amending or declining draft federal laws, elaborating on international treaties and agreements, and providing recommendations on general subjects brought up during sessions. Federal draft laws first need to pass through the FNC for suggestions when members can revise the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for deliberation and approval.

On Sunday, the National Election Committee released the names of the 337,738 citizens who are qualified to vote. The Electoral College list represents a 50% increase in voters in comparison with previous election.

During the last FNC election in 2015, around 224,000 Emiratis were entitled to vote, up from 129,000 in 2011 and from fewer than 7,000 in 2006.

Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and chairman of the election committee stated that the rise in the number of Electoral College members is yet another step of the UAE’s political empowerment and engagement journey.  It strengthens the keen interest of the nation’s leadership in allowing citizens to take part in decision-making.

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