190701 fnc election
Emiratis cast their vote for FNC election at Higher College of Technology in Ras Al Khaimah Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: Candidates hoping to contest the parliamentary elections, set for October 5, began their bid on Sunday by signing up at registration centres across the country.

The opening day of candidate registration showed Emirati women have greater interest in politics as this year’s Federal National Council (FNC) elections will culminate in women occupying half of all FNC positions — catapulting the UAE into the league of top nations with women in parliament.

In Abu Dhabi Major General Abdul Aziz Maktoum Al Shuraiqi, Director-General of the Federal Preventive Security at the Ministry of Interior (MoI), and Deputy Chairman of the Higher Security Committee for the FNC Elections 2019, said the committee has drafted a comprehensive security plan to secure the elections across all 39 voting centres.

He said the committee has compiled instructions for voters to follow on the day of the elections, according to a WAM report.

He said the plan is aimed at overcoming all obstacles, securing the arrival of voters to polling stations and their departure from them, in addition to facilitating the voting process to achieve the highest participation possible and present a positive image of the Emirati electoral process.

He said the security plan is aimed at ensuring smooth voting process at all polling stations.

FNC registration in progress at the Consultative Council in Sharjah. Faisal Masudi/Gulf News

Applications for running the elections, the fourth in the nation’s history, will be open until Thursday, August 22, with a preliminary list of potential candidates announced three days later. The list of candidates will be finalised on September 3.

Some 337,738 Emirati voters will elect 20 out of the 40-member House. Since 2006, half of the 40 FNC members have been elected to serve four-year term. The other half of the House comprises officials who have been appointed by the Ruler’s Court of the UAE’s seven emirates.

The FNC — the nation’s parliamentary body — is tasked with passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, including the UAE’s Budget, other federal affairs as well as international treaties and agreements in keeping with the constitution.

FNC registrations in progress at Dubai World Trade Centre. Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News

The House elections are held every four years, with eight parliamentary seats each allocated to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, six seats each to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah and four seats each to Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

The FNC’s 14th legislative chapter in 2006 was the first to see the participation of Emirati women, who won nine out of the 40 available seats. Dr Amal was the first woman to win in parliamentary elections.

The successes of Emirati women continued during the FNC’s 15th and 16th legislative chapters in 2011 and 2016. The FNC’s 15th legislative chapter witnessed the appointment of six women from the country’s emirates. Shaikha Al Arri was the second Emirati women to be elected to parliament.

The FNC’s 16th legislative chapter witnessed the appointment of seven women, and Naema Al Sharhan won the elections to become the third Emirati woman to acquire FNC membership.