Upbeat mood as Emiratis cast vote for ‘decisive elections’

Of the 330 candidates across the UAE vying for 20 council seats, 60 are from Dubai.
Emiratis flocked to the polls in Dubai on Saturday to cast their ballots for the third Federal National Council (FNC) elections, which many say will change the future course of the country.
The federal election is expected to bring the government and citizens closer and increasing public participation in government processes.
Of the 330 candidates across the UAE vying for 20 council seats, 60 are from Dubai.
Dozens of election staff were on hand to help check people in and guide them to the touch screen e-voting machines. Most voters finished the process within minutes.
Among the officials who came to inspect a high-tech polling station at the Dubai World Trade Centre was His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Voter Abdul Aziz Al Hashmi said he was impressed with how advanced the process was in comparison to the last round of FNC elections in 2011.
“The process was very efficient and very fast,” he said.
In the last elections, we were using paper, and machines. Now everything is based on technology.”
“These elections will be good, to help the UAE and the people,” he added. Many of Dubai’s candidates were on hand to vote and meet with supporters.
One candidate, Ismael Albanna Al Bastaki, Director of International Organisation and Bodies at Dubai Municipality, said that he and fellow candidates were pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm of voters.
“As a candidate, I’m happy. Not only for me, but for all the candidates,” he said. “They (the voters) are supporting our government. It’s part of our culture. Everybody should participate.”
A total of 224,279 people were eligible to vote in this year’s elections, compared to 135,308 in 2011.
“In previous elections, it was a much smaller number,” Albanna noted. “Now, all Emiratis are talking about the elections.”
Voter Tareq Majjan, who said he was primarily concerned with financial and banking sector reforms, said he voted because he believes that the FNC members will help raise awareness of issues and relay the concerns of Emiratis to people in government.
“Now everybody knows about the issues,” he said.
“These (candidates) are people who we can reach to talk about things. Such campaigns should be held regularly, as sometimes things that are related to UAE government need more awareness.” Notably, 67 per cent of eligible voters this year are young people under the age of 40.
“Most of the people who can vote are young,” candidate Mustafa Al Zarooni said.
“The government depends on the young for the future of the democratic process in the UAE. Entire families are telling each other to go and vote,” Al Zarooni added.
Another voter, Sulaiman Al Balooshi, brought his two young children to the polling centre to watch him vote.
“We even brought our children. Elections are still something new in our country, and we want to share our experience with them.”
Al Balooshi’s 11-year old son Adeeb, who is widely known among the Emirati public for a number of well-publicised futuristic inventions,said he foresees the elections growing in importance as he grows up.
“I think these elections are definitely going to be helpful for the UAE,” he said.
“The government can make decisions, but now the community will be able to also help make decisions in the future.”

Copyright © 2015 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend