ABU DHABI // The vice president of the Federal National Council (FNC) has asked residents to obtain their national ID cards as soon as possible.
During a speech at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, Ahmed Shabib al Dhaheri said that doing so made it more likely that more people would be made eligible to vote for FNC members.
"I call upon all expatriates and citizens to get an ID card as quickly as possible so that we can finalise the population numbers and establish an Electoral College with more members," he said.
"We have one parliament with one house and we want more members in the Electoral Colleges to have the right to vote."
In 2006 the UAE National Election Committee (NEC) approved 6689 Electoral College members - including 1189 women - from the seven emirates. The members, all Emirati, were chosen by the ruling families and were responsible for electing half of the FNC's 40 members.
Mr al Dhaheri said during his lecture - entitled 'The FNC as an Instrument to Consolidate Democracy in the UAE' - that he hoped the numbers of elected members would increase in the future.
"I have high expectations and hopes that in the future the Electoral Colleges will expand. We want the participation of more voters and we want to support our citizens," he said.
He added that it was important for the UAE to be considered a modern state and that to do so it had to retain transparency, which in turn gave it credibility.
"The UAE is in a remarkable position due to its very high number of expatriates and the good relationship we have with them.
"We are keen to preserve this to highlight the UAE as a human model and to set an example for others," he said.
He was also keen to stress the role of future generations, commending the presence of university students at the lecture and telling them to ask themselves what they could do for humanity and modernity.
"The future will be different. We have just gone through a phase that was led by the second generation but now we have a new generation of people who were born after unification and the creation of the Federation. They carry our hopes and aspirations forward."
He added he hoped for a day when all FNC members were elected but said it would be a slow process and went on to highlight the positive and symbiotic relationship with the Supreme Council.
It is unclear what will happen to the FNC when the current council's term ends on February 12.
The rest of Mr al Dhaheri's speech covered the history of the Federation since its formation in 1972, the increasingly active role of women and the relationship between the FNC and the Cabinet members.
Mr al Dhaheri has been the First Deputy Speaker of the FNC since 2003 and is also the executive director of the department of missions at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.