Emiratis - candidates, voters, and those whose lives will be affected by their choices - discuss the importance of voting in today's Federal National Council elections. With video
'One vote could alter the course of an entire emirate'
Marwan Ahmed, voter
Age: 23 years
"Elections are a new experience for me. I've never taken part in an election before. I only heard about it. I was interested in knowing more and I researched and asked around. Elections are a process that serves the country and the citizens. I like the process and I want to help in getting the right people into the FNC. This is my role as a voter, to serve my country and my countrymen. If I get the chance in the future, I might run for elections myself. I will definitely vote. It is a matter of 15 minutes. I shall also encourage people I know to cast their votes too. We will be voting for people who tackle the sensitive issues. This is my responsibility as a citizen. I will be doing this for my people and my emirate."
Latifa Al Suweidi, candidate
Age: 25 years
"Voters have an essential role. They are the ones who get the candidates into place. They must be transparent in their choices and vote for those who they think are trustworthy and those who can achieve their aspiration. Unfortunately, voters' perspectives are narrow."
Ahmed bin Khatem, candidate
Age: 32 years
"Voters are essential elements in the election procedure. It is the voters who get the candidates to the positions they aspire to. They award confidence to the candidates and motivate them to work for them. Voters must be knowledgeable about the elections process. They must choose the right people and assess the candidates' abilities through vigilant follow up. The state has entrusted the voters with an important task. I believe the voters are instrumental in getting the right individuals to the right places. My advice to all voters is to judge candidates based on their ethics then based on their education and their credibility. A candidate must be honest and credible with good social standing. These are essential traits one should look for in a candidate."
Ruwaya Al Ghilani, candidate
Age: 36 years
"The voters are the basis for any candidate's success. Voters are supposed to communicate with their candidates and support them. They must never bring them down. The role of voters is important because they support the candidates. Voters serve their country just as much as the candidates they support. For candidates, after all, are there to serve the country and their countrymen."
Al Onud Al Muheri, candidate
Age: 33 years
"Of course the voters' role is substantial. But it is essential that they make the right choice. They must choose people who aren't there to serve personal interests. Their first priority must be the service of the country. I always say age and experience are inconsequential in the service of one's country. It comes from an instinctive love. People who love their country are sure to serve it well."
Ahmed Saeed Al Maoshari, voter
Age: 22 years
"This is the first time I get selected to vote. Elections for me are a great opportunity. They give a forum for people to express their opinions and deal with issues in a calm and organised fashion. A good candidate must have certain characteristics. A candidate must be accessible and knowledgeable about the issues at hand. As a voter, I think that every vote counts. One vote could alter the course of an entire emirate."
Jassem Mohammed Al Jabri, not on the voters list
Age: 34 years
"The elections are a cause for celebration for the people of the UAE. They serve the community and the country. I didn't get a chance to run or vote in this round of elections which, in my opinion, doesn't promote the advancement of citizenship. When the names were published I was very happy. I thought my name would be among them. I had the intention to run in the elections but I was surprised to find out that my name wasn't on the list. I was very sad I didn't get a chance to play a role in my community and to serve my country."
Hamad El Mas, voter
Age: 33 years
"The elections represent a new phase in our country. Citizens have the patriotic duty to participate. I had no prior knowledge about the electoral process. But the elections website is comprehensive. I went on the website and learned everything I need to know about the process. Many candidates deserve to be elected. Our country has been a state for more than 35 years. We have highly educated individuals and we have individuals with considerable expertise in various domains. Voters must take their task seriously. You mustn't base your voting decision on personal considerations. You must choose your candidates based on their knowledge and culture and based on whether they are active and brave. They must listen to people and take note of their woes or complaints so they can discuss them within the FNC."
Jomaa Rashid Mohammed, voter
Age: 29 years
"Elections are a welcome change in the UAE, but I have no knowledge of the electoral programmes. I don't know how to choose the right people and the candidates are too many, and I don't have background information on them to help me in my decision. I will vote for the candidate who is educated and who is aware of the responsibility ahead."
More from The National Catch up on the campaign and the latest FNC news here.