x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Candidates for FNC cleared for final list

The final candidate list for FNC elections will be released on Sunday.

ABU DHABI // There have been no objections against those on the preliminary list of candidates for next month's FNC elections.

The final list will be released on Sunday, with only those who wish to withdraw from the race being delisted.

After the end of the registration period on August 17, the National Election Committee (NEC) released brochures spelling out the roles and responsibilities of voters and candidates.

Violations of the rules can result in penalties that include losing the right to stand and to vote.

Candidates may not disrespect the values and principles of society in their campaigns, and must adhere to the laws of their emirate.

Among other rules, candidates must not show disregard for public order and morals, or encourage any religious sentiment in their campaigns.

They must not receive funds from foreign groups or individuals, and must reveal the source of any funding to their emirate's election committee.

Candidates may not give or promise monetary gifts in exchange for a vote, and must not deceive voters.

They must take prompt action in the event of any irregularities in campaign advertisements and repair damages from such irregularities at their own expense.

Campaign posters and other advertising materials may only be placed in NEC-specified areas and must be removed within a week of the announcement of final results.

Those who break any of the regulations may be required to end their campaign, are subject to a Dh5,000 fine and could be removed from the ballot.

Candidates and voters have said they found the brochures useful.

Assad Al Rashadi, an FNC candidate and a petroleum engineer in Abu Dhabi, said the brochure covered all aspects of the process.

"All of the information is very useful and important to know," Mr Al Rashadi said. "They have all the data."

Voters are also subject to penalties for violations including: interfering with the proper running of the elections; interfering with voters' right to vote; promoting a candidate at polling stations; promising to vote for a candidate in return for a monetary gift or other benefit; and trying to influence other voters.

Those found to be in violation face being stripped of their vote, as well as civil and criminal liability.

MA, a voter from Dubai, said it was important to know her rights.

"It is good that they have penalties and a clear list of what we can and cannot do," said MA, 24. "It will help keep the process organised."

Polling stations will be open between 8am and 7pm on September 24. Each eligible citizen has one vote and can vote for the maximum number of available seats in their emirate.

After casting their votes, those who are not candidates must immediately leave the polling station.

Disabled and illiterate voters may be aided by the head of the polling station in the presence of an NEC member.

osalem@thenational.ae