Veteran FNC member 'not happy' with Dubai's low voter turnout

Figures show 21 per cent of eligible Emiratis in Dubai cast their vote, compared to 57 per cent in Umm Al Quwain

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Voter turnout in Saturday's elections varied across the nation as some communities flocked to vote and others stayed at home.

In total, 117,592 Emiratis cast their vote at ballot boxes across the seven emirates. That accounts for 34.81 per cent of the 337,738 eligible.

It was slightly down from 35.29 per cent in 2015 but the turnout in numbers on Saturday was much higher than four years ago, when 224,279 voters were eligible.

Dubai had the lowest turnout with just 21 per cent. That means just 12,891 of the 60,772 who were eligible voted.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, who was elected to one of Dubai's four seats for a third time, said the reasons for low turnout must be investigated.

“The low turnout upset me. I am not happy with this," Mr Al Rahoumi said on Sunday.

"We need to study the reasons why the number of voters dropped to that extent. The commission needs to measure the factors that caused this drop.

"We need to really figure out why such a low turnout from Dubai. There is clearly a gap that we need to fill and figure out the reason behind it.”

Umm Al Quwain had the highest percentage of voters turn out at 57 per cent of the 6,653 eligible Emiratis, although it was even higher in 2015 when 67 per cent voted.

“The population is small here compared to the rest of the emirates and we have strong ties between each other," said Anoud Al Kendi, 31, a social worker who was able to vote for the first time this year.

"Neighbours, co-workers and family members encouraged each other to go and vote on the early days and the main election day. In our family, it is like a race to see who would vote first."

She voted for Mohammed Al Kashef, who was elected to the council alongside Athra bin Rakkad.

"He is seen almost in every event, every celebration and every workshop in Umm Al Quwain," she said.

“He was available long before the election. Everyone knows him and believes in him and his ability to speak on behalf of us."

Ahmad Al Ali, 42, a father of six, said friends and relatives spoke of the need to ensure their vote was not wasted.

“We are indeed a small community where everyone knows everyone," Mr Al Ali said. "People were encouraging each other to go.

“I’m happy that Mohammed Al Kashef and Athra bin Rakkad won the seats. They both deserve it and will definitely work hard for UAQ people and the people of the UAE."