Last week, the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE's parliament, held its last session before the summer recess. The legislative body was created in 1972 and the 40-seat legislature was fully appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates until 2006, when half of the members were elected. The other half are still appointed, and the constitution allows for each emirate to decide the mechanism by which the members are chosen.
There are nine female FNC members and one of them, Dr Amal al Qubaisi, was elected. The FNC plays an advisory role to the Supreme Council, the President and the Cabinet. Hence, it ranks fourth in the power hierarchy. The constitution empowers the parliament to examine and propose changes to draft bills, summon and question federal ministers and officials, and to discuss the federal annual budget.
The legislative body can also debate, among others matters, the jurisdictions of federal ministers and governmental bodies and creation of federal organisations. In the parliamentary season that ended last week, the FNC passed 12 laws out of 14 that were discussed. There were 15 sessions, which lasted for nearly 91 hours, and 96 committee meetings that lasted for 218 hours.