More than 500 Emiratis registered as potential candidates in this year’s Federal National Council elections.
Candidates flocked to registrations across the country, over the past week, to nominate themselves in what will be the country’s largest election to date.
More than 330,000 Emiratis chosen among the Electoral College will be able to cast their ballots to elect members of the UAE’s advisory council on October 5.
Of the hundreds of thousands of citizens eligible to nominate themselves, 555 signed up to be considered to represent their Emirate in the council. A little under half of these (200) were women.
A decree by President Sheikh Khalifa that women should make up 40 per cent of the council’s seats after this year’s election is likely to have encouraged the surge in female applications.
During the previous election, in 2015, only one-fifth of the 330 candidates who registered were women. Of those candidates, only one was elected by the public: Naama Al Sharhan from Ras Al Khaimah, who will be running for council again this year.
Half of the FNC’s members are chosen through the elections, while the other half are appointed by the government. Sheikh Khalifa’s decree guarantees women will comprise half the seats even if they are not all elected by the public.
Rashed Al Ghafli, Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s FNC Elections Committee, said the increase in nominations this year showed that political awareness has grown among UAE nationals over the years.
He also attributed the significant turnout of women candidates to the recent presidential decision.
Over the 5-day registration period, Abu Dhabi received the largest number of submissions (155) from hopeful candidates. Next was Sharjah with 127 registrations and Dubai with 98 potential candidates. In Ras Al Khaimah, 65 Emiratis registered and 55 Emiratis submitted applications in Fujairah. Twenty-three registrations were recorded in Ajman and 23 in Umm Al Quwain.
On Thursday, a total of 98 applications were made across the Emirates, marking the end of candidacy registration. Of the 27 who applied on the last day in Abu Dhabi, half were women.
The next step will be the announcement of the list of preliminary candidates on Sunday by the National Elections Committee.
The committee will receive appeals against any of the announced candidates the following day and until Tuesday.
The final list of candidates will be revealed on September 3. Five days later, the candidates can begin their campaigns which will continue for 27 days.