Participation in FNC elections ‘reasonable’, say experts

Ahmad Al Dhaheri, a member of the National Elections Committee, said the turnout was not considered low for the UAE level.

Mohammed Al Yammahi celebrates with his supporters after winning the FNC election at the Fujairah Expo Centre on Saturday. Antonie Robertson / The National
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ABU DHABI // While only 35 per cent of the eligible electorate cast their vote in Saturday’s FNC election, experts say this was a reasonable number.

Ahmed Al Dhaheri, a member of the National Elections Commission, said the turnout was not considered low for the UAE level.

“This is the natural rate for societies like the UAE that do not suffer from anyone pressuring them,” he said.

“There is no pressure from the economic, social or political side, because they see that the situation they are in is perfect and whoever comes will maintain that level and even better.”

In countries where there were economic, social or political problems, this results in larger turnout because people voted to request a change, he said.

In Abu Dhabi, 35,046 out of 90,518 registered voters showed up on the day – 38.7 per cent of the total.

As for Dubai, 11,760 out of 53,066 voted, only 22.1 per cent of the electorate.

In Sharjah, 29.7 per cent of the electorate voted, with 9,585 out of 32,285 casting their ballot.

In Ajman almost half of the electoral college made it to the polls, with 2,965 out of 5,955 completing the voting process.

Similarly, in Fujairah 5,475 out of 10,995 cast ballots.

In RAK, a total of 11,444 out of 27,348 voted, making the polling 41.9 per cent.

Umm Al Quwain scored the highest percentage, with 70.1 per cent – 2,882 out of 4,114 voters.

The 35 per cent of the electorate who voted in this year’s election was a rise from 26 per cent at the last election, held four years ago.

As well as this increase, Mr Al Dhaheri also said the number of voters had doubled.

“This is what we take into consideration,” he said.

He did not link the turnout figure to any awareness issues.

Mohammed Al Khoori, a 29-year-old engineer, was one of those on the electorate who did not vote.

He said he abstained from voting because he thought the media had not fully explained the role of the council to him, while the campaigning period was too short.

“We did not know the timings of the candidates’ talks, and we only saw their picture put up all over the country, but we had no idea who the person in the picture was and what they could do for the country,” he said.

“None of them aroused my interest personally and I could not find a representative to vote for,” he said.