Dubai: As voting got underway in the UAE for the Federal National Council (FNC) elections on Saturday, some voters here shared their thoughts and outlined their criteria for choosing their next representatives to the 40-member council.
There are 479 candidates listed for Saturday's Federal National Council elections in the UAE.
After casting his vote at the Dubai polling center, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, told Gulf News the elections play a key role in identifying the concerns of Emiratis and addressing them at the higher level.
“What is important for us in the UAE, and for our nationals, is that we choose our candidates based on their priorities and their agendas that have been presented, whether it is on the economy, on the environment; it could be political or it could be social,” Al Mansouri said.
“And, of course, through that, we’re able to identify — and through the government also — what are the priorities of our nationals and maybe we can address them also at the higher level, eventually.
"We are eager to see the new elected members to the Federal National Council and to be able to also represent these issues in a more detailed way."
“From my side, in the economy [ministry], we’re very much happy to see any of the issues that are raised and also how we can address them in an amicable way, to be part of the progress of this nation and develop it even further.”
As for the voting process, Al Mansouri said it took him less than two minutes at the ballot.
“The process is very easy and can be understood by all the parties, different age groups, because you need to have it very simple, very effective, and that’s what I have seen here today. It took me less than two minutes for the whole process, which is good. You either recognize your candidate through their number or through their picture,” he added.
Other voters said that their choice is based on several factors.
Some key criteria that stood out for some in picking a candidate: A "proven track record" in their field and someone who is "well connected".
Mohammad Al Muhairi, an Emirati businessman who also works in a government department, said the decision to chose a candidate over others "is based on so many factors".
Al Muhairi, who has voted in the past four elections, added: "The candidates are our friends, and our brothers and sisters. Regardless of who will win, they are devoting their knowledge, time and effort to realise the purpose of the FNC, to serve the people's interests."
He said the attention to detail and superior facilities at polling booths "shows how seriously the UAE government is committed to this process".
Done in 30 seconds
The actual electronic vote casting at the digital touchscreen booths takes only around 30 seconds if the voter knows the candidate's number, Al Muhairi said.
"Even if you don't know the number, you can go through the list very quickly and easily. The arrangements here are very smooth, as always, and they are constantly improving.
"I really want to thank the election committee for the great job they're doing."
Another voter, Abdulla Mubarak, said he voted for a school principal who has a proven track record of improving standards.
"Education is a priority for me. And I know the candidate, who was a school principal, and she really made a difference in the community," added Mubarak, a government sector employee who voted for the third time in his life.
"It's important to look at the achievements of candidates," Mubarak said.