Dubai: The National Election Committee announced the results of the second Federal National Council (FNC) elections held across the UAE on Saturday.
List of winners and their serial numbers.
Salem Mohammad Al Ameri (614)
Mohammad Musallam Salem Al Ameri (779)
Mohammad Butti Salem Mousa Al Qubaisi (463)
Ahmad Mohammad Suhail Al Ameri (192)
Ahmad Abdul Malek Mohammad Ahli (844)
Hamad Ahmad Sultan Obaid Al Rahoumi (297)
Rashad Mohammad Sharif Bukhash (944)
Marwan Ahmad Ali Bin Ghalita (129)
Ahmad Mohammad Rashid Al Jarwan (234)
Salem Mohammad Ali Howayden (711)
Musabbah Saeed Ali Hareb Al Ketbi (804)
RAS AL KHAIMAH
Ahmad Abdullah Ali Al A’mash (476)
Saeed Nasser Mohammad Al Khatiri (262)
Faisal Abdullah Ahmad Tunaiji (257)
Sultan Juma Ali Sultan Al Shamsi (188)
Abdullah Hamad Rashid Al Shamsi (483)
UMM AL QUWAIN
Shaikha Eisa Ganem Al Arri (892): the only woman to be elected to the new FNC
Obaid Hassan Humaid Rakkadh (811)
Sultan Saif Sultan Saeed Al Samahi (777)
Gareeb Ahmad Gareeb Al Suraidi (877)
Voting comes to a close
Voting boxes were closed and the process of voting for the second Federal National Council (FNC) election across the UAE came to an end at 8pm on Saturday.
Thousands of voters turned up to cast their votes. The head of the FNC committee in Khor Fakkan, Abdullah Al Naqbi, told Gulf News the final result will be displayed at each polling stations.
Voting time extended
The voting time has been extended for one hour to allow all voters to cast their ballots, Afra Al Basti, head of the electoral centers in Dubai told Gulf News.
The centres across the country are expecting the flow of voters, especially women, to increase from 6pm. The polling stations will now close at 8pm.
Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, will go live on TV and announce the extension.
Many people started arriving even before the polling centres opened at 8am.
Organisers were active at the centres, busy guiding people to the booths. At some centres, like Ras Al Khaimah, technical glitches caused delay in voting.
Most of the candidates were seen greeting and interacting with the voters. Most of the voters who Gulf News spoke to said their choice of a candidate was based on the agenda of the candidate. The people said they would vote for the candidate who would raise issues concerning their betterment. Some voters opted for candidates who they knew personally.
Many special-need people cast their vote
Khalid Abdullah Ahli is a Downs Syndrome patient. But that did not stop him from coming to the Dubai Airport Expo on Saturday to exercise his privileged vote.
As his brother Ahmad Abdullah Ahli guided his wheelchair into the voting hall at the East Exhibition Centre, all eyes were on the 35-year-old.
“We were not expecting this many people. But it is all so organised and smooth,” said Ahmad, noting that Khalid had no difficulty casting his vote.
He said the organisers had taken special care to ensure that Khalid was not inconvenienced.
Earlier, Saeed Atiq Sultan Al Razi, who suffers from a leg problem since his birth, walked up to the booth with the help of an escort to cast his vote and put his ballot in the drop-off box. “I would never miss something like this as it is a privilege and honour for me,” he said, barely able to walk.
It was not clear how many of the 37,415 voters of Dubai came under the special needs category but Ali Humaid Bin Khatem, Head of the Airport Expo Election Centre, said special provisions were made for all categories of special-needs people, including the visually-impaired. Two of the 80 polling booths at the centre were reserved only for them, he added.
There were many elderly voters too who made it to the booths with walking sticks in hand. "I faced no problem although there were so many people," said one of them.
The voter turnout at the ADNEC polling centre in Abu Dhabi was higher than expected by noon, said the election organisers.
To say it has been interesting to watch the UAE election season begin to unfold these past few days would be an understatement of the very great efforts by all concerned parties, said Maitha Al Habsi, Takatuf CEO.
There are 1,000 volunteers helping voters and media, 200 of them are in Abu Dhabi. More than 40 of the candidates showed up at ADNEC to observe the voting process. As for women, while the numbers of candidates seemed high this year, their representative and their supporters seemed very remarkable which would push women’s participation in the political life further, said Thanya Al Rumaithi, a supporter of one of women candidates.
“I will give my votes to four women who deserve it and I believe there are women in my country who have proved they are very successful business women and well renowned politicians,” said Al Rumaithi.
Candidates complain of tribalism and ‘coalitions’
A candidate in the FNC election has complained that some voters are casting their votes on tribal lines complaining that this would not send qualified representatives to the council.
Huda Matroushi, a candidate, said: “It had been noticed today that many voters cast their votes based on tribal considerations.” She voiced her expectation that the government would find a decisive solution for this issue in the coming elections “by [implementing a] one-man-one-vote system to curb the impact of tribalism on elections.” Huda added that many youngsters came on Saturday to cast their votes based on the instructions given to them – without even knowing whether the candidate of their family is qualified or not.
“The FNC will be full of members based on tribalism and this will affect democracy in the country in a negative manner,” she said.
Mohammad Al Mansouri, another candidate, described the day as a national day, but said there was a need to have elections not based on tribalism or connections. “For elections to be fair and for a better FNC, and for the sake of democratic approach in the UAE, members of the FNC should be elected based on their qualifications, not their tribal affiliations,” added Al Mansouri.
Candidate Rawda Al Mansouri told Gulf News that as a housewife she was hopeful the results would be a great representation of people’s needs and requirements. “I like to see a perfect representation in the FNC of the full community spectrum to address as many issues as possible,” she said.
Some candidates also complained of coalitions, saying that supporters of certain candidates were handing over cards with the candidates’ number to vote for. According to one of the candidates who declined to be named, he – along with other candidates – wrote a complaint to the organising committee.
“This is unfair. How can we proceed further with democracy if some candidates and their supporters are violating the instructions,” said the candidate.
Another candidate said that she had seen two candidates talking to each other with their supporters surrounding them outside the voting area, and it seemed that some kind of coalition was being forged clandestinely.
Heavy voter turnout was witnessed at the Dubai Airport Expo within the first couple of hours of voting.
Ali Humaid Bin Khatem, Head of the Election Centre, said: “The turnout is excellent.”
He said by 7.30am, around 200 voters had already arrived on the scene, waiting for the voting to begin at 8am. The total number of voters in Dubai is 37,415, he added.
“All our arrangements were in place by 6am. We have around 120 volunteers who are helping us out,” he said.
Khatem said people could cast their votes in 80 booths or boxes inside, two of which were particularly designed for special needs people.
He said the centre had to insist on voters going through a prior orientation on how to use the machines after getting feedback that some of them who had skipped the briefing could not cast more than one vote.
Although the counting is electronic, ballot boxes with the votes were also included as a back-up, he added.
Sultan Omran, who was voting for the first time, said the process was very smooth.
“It only took a few minutes after the briefing, and everything went fine. It’s a great experience,” he said.
Omran said he voted for the people he believes would serve the nation. “I voted for two men and a woman who, I believe, are capable of doing a very good job in representing us at the FNC,” he said.
Mahmoud Al Zarouni was also impressed by the efficiency of the electronic voting systems. “It feels great to be part of this,” he said.
Unlike other voters who said their selection was based on the candidates’ character and agenda, Al Zarouni said he voted for people he knew very well because he trusted them. “I voted for two men and a woman,” he said.
The elections saw the participation of people with special needs, who in some cases were assisted by employees and volunteers at the centre. A special booth with wheelchair access was prepared for physically challenged voters.
Ahmad Al Madfaa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the elections come at a critical time considering the events in the Arab world. “Although some candidates, especially the younger ones, lack the political and election know-how, but we are certain this experience will be beneficial for them in the future, especially when it comes to forming a base for political work,” he said.
Emirati voters in Al Ain Saturday polled their votes believing the winning FNC candidates would respect the public mandate by playing a key role in the making of future policies in accordance with the public aspirations.
There was a thin presence of the voters in the morning at the polling station but it grew as the day progressed and by 10 am a large number of people queued up waiting to finish off before the Ad Dohar (noon) prayers.
Strict security arrangements were made around the polling stations for the smooth conduct of electoral procedure.
Most of the voters used ballots for the first time and were excited to experience the democratic process.
A computer fault put the voting process to a halt for some time. Hamad Al Ka’abi, a voter, said it took the organisers two hours to bring the system back online. Al Ka’abi had come at around 9am at the Convention Centre and poled his vote around 11:30am.
An elections official at the centre said the computer system had developed some glitch and went offline for a little over an hour. Otherwise the process ran smoothly without problem the whole day and a healthy turnout of the voters was handled at the station, he added.
Umm Al Quwain
The ballot box was already half-full by noon in Umm Al Quwain where 19 candidates are competing for two posts to the FNC. The number of ‘vote-for-me’ banners increasing as one approached the sprawling compound of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development where the one-day polling is taking place.
Voter Saeed Ali bin Hussain, 42, who was also part of the Electoral College in Umm Al Quwain in the 2006 elections, said: “The voting today is more alive.”
Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah Some voters were still unclear as to why all Emiratis were not given the right to vote.
“I would ask for all Emiratis to vote. It is an unclear decision,” said Tareq Fares, 39, a government relations director.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Humaid Al Qassimi, head of the RAK national election council (NEC), said that it was a “new culture” and people are responding and reacting to it.
“This is a new experience and we have to take it step by step. We can’t cover all the people. It’s only the second experience of election in the country and it’s still bigger than the last one in 2006,”
Women voters make up 35 to 40 percent of the 16,850 voters in the emirate. Many male voters said they were opting to vote for men. “I voted for three men. I thought the women candidates’ campaigns were coy. Their agendas and position were not discussed publicly,” said Fares.
Earlier in the day, Salima Ismail and her family rose early to come together to the polling station and cast their votes, a special family outing on a Saturday like no other.
“It is like Eid today, we celebrate it together. It is a national duty and we heard the call of al watan (homeland),” she said. “It is an outing of family and friends.”
Festive mood at UAE polling stations
Enthusiastic Emiratis lined up at the 13 polling stations across the UAE to exercise their voting rights and take part in the second elections to the Federal National Council (FNC) on Saturday morning.
Excited voters started to turn up almost an hour in advance at polling stations. Polling started at 8am on Saturday.
While voters turned out in huge numbers in Dubai, a festive mood engulfed the ADNEC polling station in Abu Dhabi as voters started to queue early in the morning. Candidates and voters enjoyed coffee and donuts in coffee shops while exchanging warm greetings with their friends who they met at the polling station.
In Dubai, by 8am, the area outside the Eastern Exhibition Hall at the Airport Expo was packed with men and women who waited for their turn to be ushered into the voting area.
The parking lot of the Ajman University for Science and Technology in Al Jarf Area too was packed with voters even before polling started.
At ADNEC, voters started to queue from early morning. "It is very evident that the UAE community is so engaged in the election process," said Salem Mohammad, a voter.
Commenting on the huge turnout, Saif Mohammad, another voter, remarked: "I was amazed at how many voters came out to vote on Saturday. It was great to see so many friendly faces. Everyone seemed pleased, from voters to committee officials."
Voting for the FNC elections started at Al Ain Convention Centre, the only polling centre in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
The polling station opened at 8am and the process ran smoothly for an hour, then halted at least for one hour due to a technical fault.
By 8 am, the area outside the Eastern Exhibition Hall at the Airport Expo was filled with men and women who waited for their turn to vote . Businessman Nawaf Qassim, who arrived at around 7.30am, said he was voting within the first hour itself as it was a working day for him. "Also, I think it will get crowded later in the day."
Obaid Ahmad Ghumail, a 14-year-old, said he and his sisters had come along to get a feel of what the elections would be like. “I wish to be a candidate one day,” he said, adding that his father and cousin were casting their votes today.
Candidates could barely hide their excitement. Dr Mouza Gobash, Professor of Sociology at the UAE University who is contesting at No. 332, said: “It is a very happy day today as Emiratis are being given a chance to participate in political life, which means we are moving smoothly towards a democratic system.”
The parking lot of Ajman University for Science and Technology in Al Jarf Area was crowded with voters, a sign they here have taken their role seriously.
Khamis Al Shamsi, a student at University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, was one of the early birds at the Ajman polling station, showing up as early as 8.15am.
“It’s a great experience to vote for the first time as it may have something to do with the rest of our lives,” said Khamis. “Our wish is to have a good parliament, a helpmate in national development.”
“This is a new chapter in its story,” said Al Shamsi, who is flying back to the US on Sunday, September 25, to pursue his studies in finance.
Voters exchanged warm greetings as they discussed about the candidates.
Ahmad Al Hamadi, 26-year-old a government employee, said: "Elections are a new experience for me. I’ve never taken part in an election before. I only heard about it from my parents and elderly relatives. I am so happy to know how to elect. All Emiratis must go to the polling station to exercise their voting right.
Election is our national duty and all Emiratis must go to the poll station to vote.
“I feel it’s like the celebration of National Day.”
Ras Al Khaimah:
The polling station at the Ras Al Khaimah Exhibition Centre opened at 8am but voters were told that the system had yet to be tested for a connection to the server in Abu Dhabi. The voters said they faced technical problems. “The system was down, the printers were not working. There has to be more technical staff on hand to help,” said Rashid Hamad Al Mazroui who came from Abu Dhabi to vote in the emirate he is registered in.
Polling stations open
Early report: Voting for the Federal National Council (FNC) elections began at 13 polling stations across the UAE at 8am.
Registered voters from all over the UAE will cast their ballots to elect 20 of the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC). The rest will be selected by the Rulers.
A total of 450 candidates, including 84 women, are contesting the election.
Today’s election is the second in the history of the UAE and the first in terms of the strength of the Electoral College.
In 2006, only 6,600 cast their votes to elect 20 members of the House. Previously, all FNC members were selected by the Rulers. In 2011, that number on the electoral rolls has been expanded to 129,274, in a move designed to encourage political participation among UAE citizens, which is seen as an integral part of the country’s future development.
FNC members do not have the final say in passing, amending or rejecting legislation or the federal budget. Their role is largely advisory. The government refers to it as a ‘federal authority'.
But President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said: “We have to walk with a clear vision to empower the FNC. The elections are the perfect opportunity to take a major step towards this goal, which will be achieved, God willing, with your virtuous efforts."
The same sentiments were echoed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who exhorted citizens to take part in “writing a new chapter in the UAE history” by casting their ballots.
Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for FNC Affairs, who is also the chairman of the National Election Committee, said the voter turnout would offer the UAE leadership an indication about how society perceives the importance of public participation in the decision-making process.
"If the turnout is low, the message will be that the FNC election is important but not a priority. I am sure the level of participation will decide the speed of the development of the election programme in the future," he said. Dr Gargash said the expansion of the FNC's mandate has to be done with a federal concession.
Gulf News Reporting Team: Shehab Al Makahleh in Abu Dhabi, Zaher Bitar and Sharmila Dhal in Dubai, Dina Aboul Hosn in Sharjah, Jay B. Hilotin in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, Dina Kamel Yousuf in Ras Al Khaimah, Aghaddir Ali in Fujairah, Aftab Kazmi in Al Ain