Registration for FNC election candidates draws to a close

Saif Al Shaafar registers at the Dubai office on the last day as a possible FNC representative. Antonie Robertson / The National
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DUBAI // The last day of Federal National Council registration lived up to expectations as 90 candidates rushed to apply before the deadline.

“Just as we thought, the last day of registration in Dubai had the biggest turnout,” said Ahmed bin Humaidan, the head of the Dubai Federal National Council Election Committee. In Dubai, 21 candidates registered yesterday, six of whom were women.

“We’re very pleased with how smooth the operation was. The energy and enthusiasm of the committee, the volunteers and the candidates was constant,” Mr Bin Humaidan added.

Ajlan Al Jamri, 47, a businessman, registered to run. He ran in 2011.

“This political empowerment that the Government has introduced is a wonderful thing and I’m exercising my right to nominate myself. For me, it’s not about the competition. I don’t see it that way. It is about the participation and getting involved. We’re all working towards a common goal, which is to serve this nation.”

Saif Al Shaafar, 40 also a businessman, is a first-time candidate.

“There are four other FNC candidates seeking re-election from Dubai but I think that there’s room for new representation and voices,” Mr Al Shaafar said.

Like many other candidates, he said, his main reason for running was his strong sense of national duty.

Marwan Al Mazrooei, 45, a retired officer from the Armed Forces, was running to represent those with disabilities and give them a voice on the council.

“It is difficult for others to feel our plight and understand the challenges that people with disabilities feel. A lot of people are sympathetic to the disabled and people with special needs but not everyone knows what it is really like,” said Mr Al Mazrooei.

He hoped that more people with disabilities would stand for elections and hoped that they would be represented in the upcoming council.

Ali Al Amri, a retiree from the Dubai Police, felt that his expertise enabled him to serve his country, even though there were many strong candidates running for the elections, he said. He believed that they were all serving a common goal and that he was honoured to be part of a stellar group of patriots. Abdullah Al Shehi is a manager at the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Housing Department. He said he saw this as an opportunity to make an impact and change lives for the better.

Should he make the list, Mr Al Shehi said he intended to focus his message on social media, radio and print media, which he believed were the communication tools popular with voters.

Naeema Juma Saeed, who works at the Ministry of Education, said she was honoured to register, hoped to do well and relished the learning experience. “I hope that I achieve all that I aspire to in this election but it’s a good way to see how things work, reach out to people, know what their needs are and maybe prepare for the future in terms of public service. Its an uncharted territory for me.”

Shahnaz Abdul Razzak, 42, a former civil engineer and an author, was one of the last candidates to register in Dubai.

One of the reasons why many candidates waited for the last day was the time required to get all their documents in order. Acquiring some of them meant an extended leave of absence from work. A certificate of good conduct from the police was also required.

“I’m pleased to see a group of women register for the upcoming elections but the number is not enough,” said Ms Abdul Razzak.