Candidates split voter opinion

Despite voting in previous years, Ahmed Al Dhaheri, a 32-year-old member of the Armed Forces, said he had little faith in the candidates. 'There’s nothing new,' he said. 'They promise people and then we see no changes made. The whole election process is a waste of effort and time.'

Serviceman Ahmed Al Dhaheri is not impressed by 2015’s offering for the Federal National Council. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Al Ain // The campaigning period is drawing to a close and the country prepares for FNC election day on Saturday.

But some voters said they were uninspired by the electioneering and unsure whether they would cast their ballot.

Despite voting in previous years, Ahmed Al Dhaheri, a 32-year-old member of the Armed Forces, said he had little faith in the candidates.

“There’s nothing new,” he said. “They promise people and then we see no changes made. The whole election process is a waste of effort and time.”

Fatima Al Neyadi, 39, a housewife, also she had no interest in the campaign.

“To be honest, I don’t follow the elections because I can’t imagine that the candidates are able to deliver as we people expect them to,” she said.

“I live in Um Ghafa, and we don’t have a health clinic in our area. Can candidates help us with this issue?”

Saturday is a milestone in the UAE's history as tens of thousands of voters go to the polls to elect a new Federal National Council.

We want voters to share their experiences with The National, so include the hashtag #ElectionUAE in your Instagram and tweets as you select your candidate.

The hashtag can also be used in Arabic.

Additionally, you can also follow our in-depth coverage of the elections and the list of candidates at thenational.ae.

Despite the sentiments of some residents, one candidate said he believed most Emiratis had faith that candidates could deliver on their promises.

He also noted that the number of citizens engaged in the FNC process had been increasing since the elections began eight years ago.

“This is a new thing in our community – the FNC elections started only eight years ago,” he said. “Every year it’s getting better and better. This year, more people are participating, there is a big difference.”

To improve the relevancy of the FNC, he said the community needed to participate in the process.

Offering a suggestion on improving the process was Saeed Al Reyami, a 30-year-old judge.

“We live in a society that is affected by which tribe you belong to. Most votes in the elections are given based on that,” he said.

“If the council could at least intervene with the number of votes per tribe, I believe the results will be more fair.”

Other Emiratis, however, said they were interested in the elections.

Mariam Al Neyadi, a 32-year-old housewife, said she was looking forward to voting.

“One of the candidates is focusing on women and children, and I am willing to vote for him,” she said. “I wish he would focus more on working hours. These women need shorter working hours because, as we know, they have other jobs as well; being wives and mums.”

She said she wanted to see elected FNC members ensuring that children received healthy meal choices at school and were given time for prayer breaks.

Mohammed Al Shamsi, 29, who works for the Ministry of Interior, said the elections reflected a positive image for the country.

“It is beautiful to see that every two years new members join the Federal National Council. They bring along new suggestions and changes,” said Mr Al Shamsi. “Whether we have demands or not, they’re in a better position to take decisions on our behalf.”

The candidate interviewed for this article said most of the voters he had communicated with were interested in education, health, women’s issues and child welfare.

He said these were also issues that formed the basis of most candidate’s platforms.

“I don’t think there is much difference between the candidates,” he said. “Most of them are running under the same things, their programmes are all almost the same – focusing on better performance.”

ealdhaheri@thenational.ae

esamoglou@thenational.ae