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Tariq Hilal Lootah and Dr Saeed Al Gafli addressing a press conference in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The representation of women in the Federal National Council (FNC) may exceed 50 per cent of the 40 member House, a senior official said on Wednesday.

“Possibilities exist for women’s representation in the Federal National Council to exceed 50 per cent considering that the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has set no maximum limits for the number of women in the House,” Tariq Hilal Lootah, undersecretary of the Ministry of State for FNC Affairs, said at a news conference.

Lootah expected that female participation in the upcoming elections scheduled for October will surge especially as the representation of Emirati women in the electoral college for 2019 increased to 50.62 per cent, compared to 49.38 per cent for men.

337,738Emiratis

eligible to vote in and run in the 2019 FNC elections, a 50.58 per cent increase over the 2015 list.

“This highlights the unwavering belief of the UAE leadership in the active role of women in advancing parliamentary work, serving the country and representing their fellow citizens,” Lootah said.

Noora Mohammad Al Ka’abi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge, said the UAE aspires to have active participation in the elections to strengthen the state’s approach to enabling its citizens to contribute to shaping their future.

“Participation of the electoral college in the 2019 election is a national necessity that will contribute to further empowering the Federal National Council and boosting the parliamentary process,” said Al Ka’abi, who is also a member of the national Election Committee.

She added that the surge in the number of electoral college members is yet another step towards the UAE’s political empowerment and engagement journey. “In addition, it reinforces the keen interest of the country’s leadership in enabling citizens to participate in decision-making and reflects the UAE’s gradual approach to political development that meets the requirements of the local society.

The electoral rolls, including 337,738 Emiratis eligible to vote in and run for the House elections, was approved by the National Election Committee (NEC), marking a 50.58 per cent increase over the 2015 list that included 224,281 Emirati electors.

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Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Saeed Al Gafli, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs, said the voter pool features a significant representation of electors in the 21-40 age category, reflecting the crucial role of youth in the UAE’s progress.

“This allows a large number of young Emiratis across the UAE to participate in the elections and choose their representatives in the Federal National Council,” he said

The pool of voters includes 101,549 members from Abu Dhabi, 60,772 from Dubai, 64,293 from Sharjah, 10,165 from Ajman, 6,653 from Umm Al Quwain, 55,289 from Ras Al Khaimah and 39,017 members from Fujairah.

Dr Al Gafli said efforts were ongoing to improve the electoral process through facilitating voting for the members of the electoral college across the UAE, stressing that it is a result of a constructive and proactive cooperation of all concerned parties in organising the fourth cycle of the FNC elections.

Timeline of 2019 elections

Candidate’s registration at polling stations will begin on August 18 and will continue for five days.

The preliminary list of candidates will be announced on August 25.

A final list of candidates will be out on September 3.

The candidates will launch their election campaigns on September 8, with the deadline for candidate withdrawal, if any, set for 15 September.

Overseas voting will run from September 22-23, while early voting takes place from October 1-3.

October 5 has been set as the main election day, during which the results of the preliminary count will be announced.

Appeals will start on October 6 and continue for two days, with the committee replying to these appeals on October 9-10. The final list of elected candidates will be announced on October 13, unless supplementary elections are held.

This year’s elections will not witness any election silence that usually prevents candidates from campaigning 48 hours before voting begins.