Emiratisation, women's rights and preservation of national identity were among the policy themes outlined by candidates hoping to win a seat on the Federal National Council when they hit the campaign trail yesterday ahead of this month's elections.
Almost three weeks of campaigning started with candidates holding majlises and preparing to go door-to-door to try to win the support of some the 129,000 UAE nationals eligible to take part in the vote.
More than 460 hopefuls have signed up to compete for the 20 seats available on the advisory body, elections for which will be held on September 24.
Candidates used social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as the more traditional face-to-face approach to communicate with potential voters in an effort to win their backing.
Health care and education also proved popular topics with candidates pledging to push for improvements in the sectors.
Female candidates have vowed to be help develop a larger role for women in the workplace but assured voters that they would equally represent the needs of men.
Moza Al Otaiba, a member of the board of trustees of the Family Development Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen's Council, who is contesting a seat in Abu Dhabi, began her campaign with a press conference at her father's majlis.
"We have seen, especially in Arab parliament, women representing women," she said. "But I will represent all sectors. This comes from my family values."
She emphasised, however, that women need more rights to help maximise their role at home and at work. "They should not need to compromise one for the other." In Dubai, Adil Al Fahim said he wished to bridge what he perceived as a the gap between the public and the country's leadership. "This is something we inherited from our culture in the UAE, where people used to go to the sheikh to have coffee and discuss issues," said the father of six. "The system was easy, and now we are missing all of these things because of the size of the country and population.
"So we need to have a system in place which will help develop the good things we inherited from our fathers and grandfathers."
The launch of some election campaigns were more subdued in parts of Umm Al Qaiwain and Al Ain.