x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

President praises FNC's parliamentary success

Sheikh Khalifa says the Council will 'continue to develop' to meet the needs of the nation.

ABU DHABI // Days before the Federal Natonal Council's (FNC) term is due to expire, the President of the UAE yesterday praised the legislative body for a "successful" parliamentary process that he said will continue to evolve.

With the statement, Sheikh Khalifa became the highest-ranking official to comment on the FNC's stature and role. Public participation and parliamentary activity began with the country's formation in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa said in remarks published on the state news agency, WAM.

The parliamentary process would "continue to develop, so as to meet the needs of the nation and to achieve the hopes and aspirations of our people for participation, security and stability, at the same time protecting and preserving the interests of the state in all areas", the President said.

He also praised the expanding role of women in the FNC; there are now nine women - eight of them appointed - out of 40 members.

Half of the FNC's members are appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates, while the other half are chosen by an electoral college of nearly 6,700 Emiratis, who are also chosen by the rulers. The FNC has the authority to debate and amend laws, question ministers and discuss the annual federal budget, but not to initiate legislation.

The current FNC was elected in 2006. Its term was supposed to be two years, but was extended in 2008 for another two years.

The term formally ends on February 12, but the council's last session will take place today.