Abu Dhabi: Emirati women will enjoy full participation in the upcoming FNC election to be held on September 24. There are some preparing to run for the election while there are others looking forward to the ballot experience for the first time. Gulf News spoke to a cross-section of people from Abu Dhabi who are bubbling with enthusiasm at their chance to have a democratic say in national affairs.
Amal Al Muhairi, 33, writer and media personality, Abu Dhabi:
"This is the second time my name has been placed on the Electoral College list and I plan to announce my candidacy for this year's FNC session. If I am elected, I hope to use my position to push for more women's rights and enhance current legislation regarding Emirati women.
"I think it's great that more women were given the chance to participate in this year's electoral process…this shows that our efforts are being recognised and our voices will now have a stronger chance of being heard.
"I'm also happy that the National Election Committee has organised discussions, such as the one on Sunday evening, ahead of the elections and that there are many new names listed this year as there are many young Emiratis who are unaware or disinterested in the FNC or other governmental departments.
"Hopefully, the fact that they are listed will encourage them to seek out more about their government and their rights, especially the women."
Mouza Al Mazroui, 32, homemaker, Abu Dhabi:
"I'm very happy to see a stronger female presence in this year's Electoral College list; hopefully many will be encouraged to run or even win a position. There were many women's issues that haven't really been addressed or discussed during past FNC sessions. But if we are able to elect more this time, we will be able to highlight our concerns in a more effective way.
"I'm going to vote during this year's elections. It will be interesting to see who the candidates are and what they may say but even though the electoral process might give us hope for change, I don't think that there will be anything new happening in the FNC.
"It seems that it will more or less be the same because the speakers don't give the impression that they are flexible or open to the change that the newly elected candidates may bring."
Abdullah Al Marzouqi, information analyst, 37, Abu Dhabi:
"I only found out that I was among those listed in the electoral college when my brother told me ten days ago.
"I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I can both vote or announce my candidacy. It is thrilling but nerve-wracking at the same time because it's a lot of responsibility.
"Prior to the National Election Committee's discussion on Sunday evening, I wasn't aware of a lot of things regarding the FNC and the electoral process. But now, I've learnt various interesting facts and regulations. One of which I'm most concerned about is how to raise the financial backing I need if I decide to formally declare my candidacy.
"If I'm able to find a sponsor, I'll definitely try to run for election because there many issues regarding young Emiratis that I don't feel are being addressed but if I'm chosen, I hope I can help my generation present their concerns."
Obaid Saeed Al Ham Al Daheri, 53, retired army officer, originally from Al Ain but now living in Abu Dhabi:
"This is the first time that my name is placed on the Electoral College list and I only found out about it when my brother contacted me last week, having read it in a publication.
"What's nice is that two of my brothers and two nieces have also been placed on the list. But after we discussed it, we decided that I would be the best person to represent the family during this election.
"I'm definitely nominating myself for this year's FNC electoral positions because I want to give back to my country and my government; what better way than to represent fellow Emiratis in the FNC where we can address and solve their concerns and problems?
"Hopefully, no matter who is elected, it will allow a fresh flow of ideas and perspectives.
"Another thing I hope will change is the number of representatives allowed for each emirate. I don't think it's fair that one emirate can have more representatives than another because it causes a disparity. Perhaps that can be addressed during the upcoming session."