SHARJAH // A glimmer of an election atmosphere has begun to appear on the streets, with candidate posters going up on billboards across the emirate.
Along the Buhairah Corniche Road, pictures of about 10 candidates appeared yesterday, the first day of campaigning. By midday, more were being posted by volunteers for different candidates.
The posters featured key concepts from each candidate's campaign, including justice, vision, development, transparency, accountability, honesty and trust.
Ahmed Abdul Munim, an Emirati who was overseeing the posting for one of the candidates, said he was pleased to witness a democratic process taking place in his country without hatred or enmity.
"We have met with supporters of other candidates, all putting up posters and greeted each other with salaam [peace], shaking hands and wishing each other success despite being rivals," he said. "For us we see ourselves as a family. Anyone who goes to the council will represent our interests."
One candidate whose face was pictured was Hamad Mohammed Al Shamsi, a 56-year-old banking expert.
Mr Al Shamsi has made fighting unemployment a key message of his campaign.
He said that with three decades' experience in the service sector, he could help policy makers to create jobs.
"It's essential to have a guarantee of jobs for our young," he said. "This is a form of trust between policy makers and the people."
Abdullah Al Tunaiji, a retired army officer and another Sharjah candidate, said he was already preparing to have his posters placed on popular roads in the emirate, as well as inviting media to a briefing on his election programme.
"My focus is the welfare of every Emirati, the young and old thriving in a modern UAE," he said.
Mr Al Tunaiji said he would address issues including public housing, unemployment, blackouts and roads infrastructure.
"We have a number of organisations offering public housing," he said.
"They only need to be given a voice of the local people on their housing requirements. There's also a good number of Emiratis that have not got houses, yet they applied some time back."
About half of the 93 registered candidates in Sharjah have applied to the municipality for authorisation to have their posters on roads, said Nada Al Suwaidi, the director of public relations and media department at Sharjah municipality.
"We have about eight employees working on these authorisations to help candidates get approved as soon as possible," she said.
"The municipality inspectors would also be on the move to ensure that candidates' posters abided by the set rules of the [National Election Committee] and municipality.
There are some roads and areas where it is forbidden to place posters, said Mansouri bin Nassar, the director of the federal electoral committee in Sharjah.
"Among these roads include Al Dhaid-Airport Road, Emirates Road, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road, schools, universities, trading centres and government buildings," he said, adding that promoting candidates on cars was also forbidden.