x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ajman: letdown for voters without ID cards

Some Ajman residents were turned away from voting for not having ID cards, officials say.

Candidates wait at the Ajman University during polling at the FNC elections.
Candidates wait at the Ajman University during polling at the FNC elections.

AJMAN// Hopes of participating in the UAE’s largest election were dashed for some voters, who arrived at the polling station without their identity cards.

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Sultan Ali Rasheed Lootah, the director of the Ajman polling centre, said a few voters were turned away but the process had otherwise gone smoothly at the polling booths in Ajman University’s Sheikh Zayed Conference Centre.

The emirate, the UAE’s smallest, had 3,919 voters choosing from 33 candidates.Humaid Al Qattami, the Minister of Education, visited the polling station about 10am and spoke to candidates who sat in front of the polling booths monitoring the elections.

“To me, everything here is fantastic,” Mr Al Qattami said after the visit. “Our grandfathers would have been pleased to see us going through this process as smoothly as it is and called it ‘an Emirati dream’.

”He said the wide participation of voters was evidence that Emiratis were committed to the democratic process the country was undertaking, and that women’s participation in the process was a credit to the country.

One candidate, Manahel Abdulrahman Bedah, who sat closely watching the polls, said the campaign experience was wonderful.

“If I win today there will be a party for the whole of the UAE,” Ms Bedah said. “If I don’t win still I will join my winning brothers and sisters for their party as we are like a family.

”Abdullah Al Awadhi was among the first voters to arrive.“This is my first time voting in the UAE but a second experience of voting, unlike my brothers,” Mr Al Awadhi said.“I first voted in America at university for our university leaders and was so happy seeing that American experience coming true in my country.”

Another voter, Majed Al Awadhi, said he was pleased by the well organised system for voters new to the democratic process.

“There was ample parking space and the whole voting process took less than five minutes,” Mr Al Awadhi said.

ykakande@thenational.ae