Dubai: Over 100 UAE nationals have signed a call for comprehensive reform of the UAE's Federal National Council, including universal suffrage and more legislative power. A petition to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was circulated Wednesday online calling for more signatures. 

The group called for "a comprehensive reform of the parliamentary system of the Federal National Council (FNC), and included demands for free elections by all citizens in the method of universal suffrage. It also demanded reform of the work of the parliament to include legislative and monitoring authorities".

The group includes intellectuals, university professors, former FNC members, former government officials and civil society activists. The petitioners say they are responding to international and regional changes and seek a democratic parliament as stipulated in the UAE constitution of 1971.

The petition follows the government's decision last month to increase the number of those who were granted the right to vote and run for the Council's membership, which was doubled to 12,000 in preparation for planned election for the next session of the FNC.

Dr Saeed Mohammad Al Gafli, the assistant secretary-general of the Ministry of FNC Affairs, told Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm that the election is scheduled for September this year, based on initial discussions, and the final date will be confirmed next week.

The petitioners also praised the President and the Supreme Council for their ongoing efforts to preserve the long established harmony between the leaders and the people of the UAE.