x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Gaps in FNC hopefuls' knowledge

FNC candidates who showed up to a sparsely attended training session largely did not know what being an FNC member meant, the trainer said.

DUBAI // Some FNC candidates who attended a training programme yesterday do not know basic facts about the elections, said the professor who ran the course.

Dr Habib Rammal, a professor of enterprise communication and public relations at Lebanese University in Beirut, said some nominees were also unsure about the purpose of the Federal National Council.

"Several candidates do not have knowledge on the role of the FNC and its members. Some do not even know that the FNC is an advisory body and not a legislative one," said Dr Rammal.

"Some seem to take the election as being for prestige purposes and not really understanding its true meaning."

The two-day course, held to instruct candidates on running a successful campaign, concluded yesterday at the Al Bustan Rotana. It was organised by the Dubai Quality Group and the events management firm Etisal. Issues covered included the principles of democracy, electoral systems and secret ballots.

Mohammed Humaid Al Merri, a candidate who attended the course, admitted there was a knowledge gap among some candidates, but said many more were committed and serious.

"I am looking at this experience with a lot of positivity," he added.

About 200 candidates were told about the course. Fewer than 10 attended. The FNC election will be held on September 24. More than 460 candidates will compete for the votes of 129,000 people selected for the privilege.

Eisha Abdul Al Rahman, a media professional standing in Dubai, said some candidates "do not have enough knowledge on the FNC and its role and duty".

"Spreading awareness on the election and FNC should be a shared responsibility between the Government, media and the people," she added. Ms Al Rahman believes the poor understanding about voting is natural because it is a new concept in the UAE.

Maisa Ghadir, an ex-FNC member, believes a lack of awareness among voters is a serious issue.

"Educating voters on the importance of taking to the polls is what matters now," she said. "Many might not go to the polling centres. Voting is a national duty."