By Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan
Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Federal National Council (FNC) Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC) said “the expansion of the electoral College this year confirms the leadership’s commitment to move forward and enhance participation of citizens in policy-making in the UAE”.
The people of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is gradually but surely inching towards better and greater grass-roots decision making mechanism by rigorously participating in the upcoming FNC elections 2011 to be held on September 24. The upcoming FNC elections 2011 offers a chance for all nationals of different age and gender to engage with the diverse processes of democracy and play important role in the decision making process. According to the National Election Committee (NEC) the youth dominates in the Electoral College (2011) with 35 per cent of the members falling under the age of 30.
Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Federal National Council (FNC) Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), has strongly stressed the need for the members of the Electoral College to exercise their right to vote, given their critical role in the success of the process of empowerment.
The political/election euphoria is electrifying among the youth of the UAE and a growing number of youth are showing keenness to participate in the election processes and are familiarising themselves with the rules of political participation in the UAE. A number of Emirati youth have shown great interest in the ongoing official election awareness and stepped in to attend and follow the election process to learn and understand the FNC and UAE political system and prepare themselves to take part in elections in the future.
468 candidates will contest for half of the 40 seats in the Federal National Council (FNC). The government has always been encouraging women to take up a wide range of careers and positions with private and public sector which is also true even the field of politics where 86 out of 468 candidates are women. In 2nd FNC elections, the number of voters has been tremendously increased from 7000 to 130,000. The elections campaign has been started by using different ways of communications by all the candidates. The government has also announced to hold more seminars nationwide to enlighten the voters on the process of election.
In order to gear-up the preparations for the forthcoming FNC elections Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for FNC Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash launched a new initiative to train the voters on using the electronic machines for registering their votes. In 2nd FNC elections voters can easily caste their votes by using electronic machines ‘Tasweet’ (voting). In this connection a number of electronic voting machines have been installed at the Mushrif Mall. Such voting machines will also be installed in a number of other malls in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as well as all the seven emirates, providing the electorate with the opportunity to familiarize with the gadgetry before the elections.
The government has already announced to have four polling stations in Abu Dhabi, two in Dubai, three in Sharjah and one polling station each in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Qaiwain.
It is without saying that the UAE leadership is keen to deliver the benefits of its robust socio-economic development efforts to all emirates of the federation without exception. It is also keen to make this a comprehensive development that includes economic, social, cultural, environmental and political aspects. It undoubtedly, provides functional model of political stability and democratization in the region. Right from the beginning, the UAE adopted steady policy of openness and tolerance which has translated into unshakable political stability and coalescing social harmony in which the Federal National Council’s contribution is paramount.