The first planning meeting to prepare for this year’s Federal National Council elections was held in Abu Dhabi.
The Election Committee of Abu Dhabi, led by its chairman Saif Al Qubaisi, met at the emirate’s Crown Prince Court at the weekend to discuss a plan of action for the forthcoming elections.
Mr Al Qubaisi said the committee would provide all necessary mechanisms requested by the National Election Committee to facilitate the electoral process in Abu Dhabi.
He said committee members would join forces to promote a culture of political participation to advance the UAE leadership’s vision for nation-building and development, reported state news agency Wam.
The committee also discussed how they would streamline procedures for candidates and voters to achieve President Sheikh Khalifa’s decision to have women occupy 50 per cent of the council as part of efforts to “further empower Emirati women and bolster their contributions to development”.
The FNC is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It has 40 members, of whom, currently, eight are women. The council’s main function is the passing, amending or rejecting of federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations — when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval.
FNC elections are held every four years. Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by Emiratis to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
The date of the elections has yet to be announced but the 2015 elections were held in October and the 2011 elections in September.