Emiratis have ‘national duty’ to participate in elections

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum says Emirati women have a national duty to take part in the coming Federal National Council elections.

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DUBAI // Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum says Emirati women have a national duty to take part in the coming Federal National Council elections.

Sheikha Manal, President of the Gender Balance Council, said Emirati women could fulfil their potential by contributing to the country’s prosperity through the council.

“I would like to take this opportunity call on women to run for the FNC’s elections in order to achieve our aspirations and desired goals, and increase the political and economic participation,” she said.

“The FNC attaches great importance to women’s empowerment issues, enabling them to play an important role in serving the community, increasing their presence in business sectors as well as legislative and executive institutions, and holding decision-making positions.

“This is the reason we all hope that women’s participation in the current legislative session increases, so as to support their role as active partners in political life.”

Sheikha Manal, also President of the Dubai Women Establishment, was addressing a session hosted by the National Election Committee in cooperation with DWE.

The wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Sheikha Manal said Emirati women had held leading positions in the FNC, including that of First Deputy Speaker.

Women had presided over the council’s permanent and interim committees.

“They also played an influential role through their participation in regional and international conferences,” Sheikha Manal said. “This is the reason we must continue to exert efforts in order to increase the number of UAE national women in the FNC.”

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Chairman of the NEC, said Emirati women were a pillar in the nation’s development, and their participation in elections strengthened the approach adopted by the leadership.

Dr Gargash said that as members of the consultative body, women represented their families and their communities, and played a major part in legislation that touched all citizens.

Dr Amal Al Qubaisi became the first women elected to the FNC, representing Abu Dhabi, in 2006. That year, eight other women were appointed. In the 2011 elections, 85 of the 468 candidates were women.

Of the most recent 40-member FNC three were women, including Dr Al Qubaisi, who was appointed after her successful first four-year term. She also serves as the director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Registration for the elections is now open and runs until August 20. Candidates must be at least 25 years old on election day, October 3.

They must be literate and a citizen of their emirate, and have a certificate of good conduct.

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