ABU DHABI // It was election year in the Federal National Council, meaning new members won seats and a new president took the helm.
After the elections in October, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi stepped down from her role as head of Abu Dhabi Education Council to become speaker of the FNC, making her the first female in the region to lead a national assembly.
The elections also resulted in 20 members being elected to the body, while 20 more were appointed by the emirates’ rulers the following month.
While the FNC had a new female leader, only one woman actually won election — Naama Al Sharhan from Ras Al Khaimah. She was the only one of 78 female candidates to succeed after picking up 1,004 votes. In total, women candidates received less than 10 per cent of the overall votes.
The council also passed a number of significant laws this year such as the Child Rights law, which finally gained approval this month.
In May, an antiques law was passed, which aimed to clarify regulations regarding the preservation, registration and identification of antiquities, while prohibiting their export.
As usual, members were not immune to making comments that caused controversy. For example, Ahmad Al Amash sparked a social media backlack when he stated that having unmarried women were creating a “financial burden on the country”.
Another example was when Ahmad Al Shamsi recommended that non-Emirati mothers should be stripped of their custody rights.
Read more on the UAE’s developments in 2015 in:
› Diplomacy: Ties with China and South Korea strengthened
› Aid: Foreign aid exceeds Dh23bn