x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Health and education among voter priorities

Voters in September's FNC election say candidates' campaigns should focus on emiratisation, education, healthcare and heritage. Election issues should also take priority over tribal affiliations.  

DUBAI // Voters in the coming Federal National Council election say candidates' pledges will be more important in winning their support than tribal affiliations.

Policies on Emiratisation, education, health care and heritage will be key to winning voters, they said.

Members of the electorate said they would also consider a candidate's age, because life experience was important for the 40 members of the advisory council.

Thousands of Emiratis will go to the polls on September 24 to vote for 20 members of the FNC. The other 20 will be chosen by the Rulers of each emirate.

The National Election Committee will today start holding public meetings to outline the responsibilities of voters and candidates.

"I wish to see a candidate who is willing to present new ideas for the community's development and not base his or her candidacy on popularity or status within the community," said Yousef Al Ghufli, 21, from Umm al Qaiwain.

"I would like better infrastructure for the emirate, especially in the educational, health, urban planning and heritage-management sectors.

"As for the UAE as a whole, there should be more inter-municipal co-operation between the emirates in all possible areas."

Hani Al Awadi, 29, from Sharjah, said he would not consider tribal links when voting.

"My vote will be based on competence and their ideas," Mr Al Awadi said. "And it will be away from any tribal affiliation or any other affiliation. I will choose whoever has a clear campaigning programme and works towards developing the state overall and the emirate specifically."

The minimum voting age is 21. Everyone one the electoral rolls can stand for election, although the minimum age for candidates is 25. Some said that was too young.

Latifa Ali, 22, from Dubai, said she would vote for someone in their 40s.

"Age is something important," Ms Ali said. "If they are 40, they would have more experience and would be taken seriously. Candidates should be at least 28 years old."

She said the issue of Emiratisation was one of the most important.

"There needs to be Emiratisation in the government and private sector," Ms Ali said.