x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Changes to FNC's role must be 'gradual and responsible', expert warns

The head of political sciences at the UAE University recognises President Sheikh Khalifa's effort to empower the nation through the FNC. However, he warns that the process must not be rushed.

ABU DHABI // Any changes to the role of the Federal National Council must be “gradual and responsible”, says the head of political sciences at UAE University.

Addressing the Building Political Awareness Among University Students forum, Dr Muhammad Huwaidena recounted Sheikh Zayed’s efforts to unite the Emirates and said Sheikh Khalifa, the President, was keen to follow his father’s footsteps by empowering the country.

“Introducing political empowerment was the main project to support the federal Government,” said Dr Huwaidena.

He said the first part of this empowerment was the creation of the FNC, and further empowerment would come in time, but should not be rushed.

“Giving the FNC a more powerful role is the main focus in the coming period and this will be done within the frame of the constitution,” Dr Huwaidena said.

“To become a consulting entity and be a supporting hand for the Government and legislative authority [is the aim].”

He said that because the UAE was a young country a political culture had yet to take hold – and pointed to a low turnout at the last FNC election as evidence of this.

The UAE was not yet ready for a political system such as those in the US and Europe, Dr Huwaidena said. Changes in political empowerment needed to take place gradually.

“Empowerment is a long process and it’s not easy,” he said.