About FNC Elections
The first FNC elections were held in December 2006 under Decree no. (3) for 2006 issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may Allah protect him), based on the Supreme Council of the Federation's Resolution no. (4) for 2006 with respect to determining the method of selecting the representatives of the emirates in the FNC. The resolution stipulated that half the members would be elected and the other half would be appointed by the Ruler from the representatives of each emirate.
The resolution also stipulated that a national election committee be formed under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, provided that its powers would include announcing the list of candidates for each emirate; issuing a timeline for the elections showing the starting dates of candidacy, the grace period of a candidate's relinquishment, the date of holding elections in each emirate, the grace period for submission of appeals against the elections and the deadline for announcing the election results; calling for elections in each emirate and determining the dates in which these elections are scheduled to be held; forming electoral sub-committees and determining the scope of their powers; forming teams for executing the electoral process; endorsing the proposals submitted by the Election Management Committee related to the approved forms, lists, documents and seals for the electoral processes; approving the voting centre in each emirate based on a recommendation from the Election Management Committee; approving the recommendations proposed by the Election Management Committee; announcing the final winners of the elections and taking the necessary procedures for their FNC membership.
However, introducing the partial election system was only the first step of a process aimed at empowering and enhancing the role of the FNC and developing more effective and vital channels for coordinating between the FNC and the government, thereby opening new prospects in the parliamentary life in the UAE.
The NEC supervised the preparations for the electoral process to complete the electoral lists and hence select the electoral base. The ruler of each emirate selected an electoral college whose members were over 100 times more than the number of the emirate's representatives in the FNC (8 members each from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 6 each from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah and 4 each from Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain).
The number of candidates for the FNC membership from all the emirates totaled 456. These included 100 candidates from Abu Dhabi, accounting for 21.9 per cent; 82 from Dubai (18 per cent); 101 from Sharjah (22.1 per cent); 24 from Ajman (5.3 per cent); 29 from Umm Al Quwain (6.4 per cent); 83 from Ras Al Khaimah (18.2 per cent); and 37 from Fujairah (8.1 per cent).
The candidates' electoral campaigns focused on the social issues of concern to the UAE nationals such as demographic problem and national identity; job opportunities and Emiratization; education; health; rights of women and children; housing and improving standard of living for Emiratis. This showed the candidates' commitment to the living conditions in the UAE and their dedication to the concerns of the UAE and its nationals.
The total number of members of Electoral College was 6595, representing all the emirates. Abu Dhabi accounted for 26.4 per cent, 23 per cent from Dubai, 15.4 per cent from Sharjah, 6.6 per cent from Ajman, 6.1 per cent from Umm Al Quwain, 16 per cent from Ras Al Khaimah and 6.3 per cent from Fujairah.
Voter turnout across the UAE stood at 74.4 per cent. It accounted for 60 per cent in Abu Dhabi, 71.05 per cent in Dubai, 82.20 per cent in Sharjah, 85.09 per cent in Ajman, 88.83 per cent in Umm Al Quwain, 78.98 per cent in Ras Al Khaimah and 90.41 per cent in Fujairah.
In the first electoral experience in the UAE, the NEC approved electronic voting through the use of computer technologies instead of traditional voting. This was done in order to record and store the data of the candidates and voters, verify the identity of voters to proceed with electronic voting and subsequently sort and count the votes of each candidate, a process which is both precise and fast with the use of technology.
The elections were held as per the timeline approved by the NEC in the voting centres identified in each emirate. Thus, elections were held in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah on 16 December, in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah on 18 December and in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain on 20 December.
Based on the prudent leadership's firm belief in the importance of women in the public life and national work, the UAE women have received great support and appreciation in all fields. The women's political engagement through the Cabinet and FNC membership has reflected the degree of awareness of the UAE leadership and people, as well as their political maturity and deep belief in the women's abilities and their aptitude to be an efficient partner in building the country's future. The women's experience in the FNC is a quantum leap in the parliamentary work in general. Allowing the opportunity for the UAE women voters and candidates was a clear message on their importance in the political arena, unlike some other countries in which women had to struggle for many years to get their voting rights.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi winning a FNC seat to become the first Emirati woman to be directly elected is the most conclusive proof of the UAE citizens' trust in her. Later, other 8 women were appointed to the FNC, bringing to total number of women in the FNC to 9. These seats accounted for 22.5 per cent of the total FNC seats, which is one of the highest representation for women in the world.