'Run strong or don't run at all': FNC hopeful spends Dh1 million on campaign

Dr Mubarak Al Ameri is eager to ensure his message reaches a wide audience as the nation gears up for election day on Saturday

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates - Dr. Mubarak Alameri, FNC candidate in Al Ain.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Haneen Dajani's story

A Federal National Council candidate has splashed out Dh1 million on his campaign and vowed "you either run strongly or you don't run at all".

Dr Mubarak Al Ameri is making his presence felt ahead of the nation going to the polls on Saturday, with posters emblazoned with his image and his eye-catching election slogan dotted across Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

"Together against inflation" reads the message from a council candidate eager to cut the cost of living in the Emirates.

The 50-year-old businessman said a vital lifeline must be provided to people "drowning in debt", while plans must be put in place to manage the price of goods.

"I have a number of programmes that I am proposing. So far I have spent around Dh1 million, and I am still counting my overall budget.

"I am running for the first time, and it is either you run strongly or you don't run at all."

Dr Al Ameri said he has conducted a study analysing how inflation - which he believes is often driven by "merchants' greed" - can be reduced.

"The same merchants have been holding the same agencies for decades, so they are controlling the prices," said Dr Al Ameri, who is is standing in Abu Dhabi.

"For example, currently a car agency could increase the price of a car by Dh50,000, even though abroad it is much cheaper, so why is the country not putting a method to control the agents' manipulation of prices?"

He feels he is eminently qualified to help influence future policies as a member of the UAE's consultative council.

"I believe I am qualified to win, I have a PhD and master's degree in economics, a bachelor's degree in management and accumulative experience in other fields."

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates - Dr. Mubarak Alameri, FNC candidate posters in Al Ain.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Haneen Dajani's story

Dr Al Ameri has a wealth of business experience to call upon.

He is currently the chairman of Abu Dhabi School for Management, the chief executive of an investment and property development company, and the chief of a local company for manufacturing building materials.

He is also a member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, and used to work in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

In addition to his extensive poster campaign, Dr Al Ameri has visited local majlis and talked directly to potential voters.

Banks are drowning people with debt

"It is inevitable to use the knock on doors approach," he said.

"Each person has his own style in communicating his message."

He hosted a lunch banquet last Friday for more than 400 people, where he invited poets to recite lines that rhyme with his campaign slogans.

He is also calling for banks to "find a just way in dealing with customers”.

"Banks are drowning people with debt," he said.

“Banks should be socially responsible and give loans reasonably. In many instances they give loans to people who are not eligible to pay it back."

He is also calling for less working hours for women, "so they can balance between their work and family responsibilities".

A total of 479 candidates are standing for election across the seven emirates.

The elected council members will be revealed on October 13, unless any objections or appeals lead to supplementary elections.

Half of the 40-strong council membership is chosen through the elections, with the remainder appointed by the government.