Dubai: The first session of the 17th legislative chapter of the Federal National Council was opened on Thursday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammad performed the opening in the presence of Crown Princes and Deputy Rulers, ministers, diplomats, and senior civil and military officials.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a federal decree convening the 1st regular session of 17th legislative chapter of the House.

Shortly before noon, Shaikh Mohammad arrived and was greeted by a guard of honour.

After a recital from the Holy Quran, Shaikh Mohammad officially opened the council by seeking Allah’s blessings and praying to Him to aid in establishing what is in the good of the nation and its citizens.

Ten committees including the Future Committee, to help achieve the UAE Centennial goals to make the UAE the best country in the world by 2071, were elected.

Following the opening ceremony, Ali Jasem, the longest serving FNC member in the council’s history, delivered a speech in which he welcomed the Vice President, and hailed the UAE’s leadership, led by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for its keenness to support the House as a main pillar of the country’s union.

Jasem added that the UAE’s Founding Father Shaikh Zayed was keen for the country’s citizens to take part in the nation’s work, and hence ordered the establishment of the Federal National Council to represent the entire population of the UAE.

He applauded the outstanding cooperation between the FNC, which discussed issues of concern for citizens, and the UAE Government, which addressed national matters with the utmost transparency, accuracy, and objectivity.

During this session, the House will review a number of draft laws including 2018 closing accounts and 2020 budget.

The FNC is one of the UAE’s five federal authorities, as established by the constitution. Its first session was opened on December 2, 1972. The FNC’s official mandate is to provide for public debate of legislation. The FNC discusses proposals and plans of various federal ministries, entities and public institutions.

There are 40 members of the FNC, apportioned among the UAE’s seven emirates, with eight seats each for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, six seats each for Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah and four seats each for Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

Since 2006, half of FNC members have been elected to serve four-year terms. The other half of the body comprises officials who have been appointed by the Ruler’s Court of the UAE’s seven emirates.

Ghubash elected uncontested FNC Speaker

Saqr Ghubash Saeed Al Marri was elected uncontested as the FNC Speaker.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, a returning member from Dubai, was elected uncontested as the First Deputy Speaker of the House.

Na’ama Al Sharhan, a returning member from Ras Al Khaimah, was elected as the Second Deputy Speaker.

Osama Al Shafar, a member from Dubai, and Mohammad Al Yamahi, a member from Fujairah, were elected as observers.

Ten committees and an ad-hoc committee to respond to the President’s speech were also elected.

The FNC sessions, held in Abu Dhabi, are open to the public, except in exceptional closed sessions, which must be approved by a majority vote of the Council.