x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Umm Al Qaiwain: smooth sailing at polling stations

Steady turnout at small emirate.

Yousef Mohammed, 55, in wheelchair, talks with friends after voting at the Ministry of Culture in Umm Al Qaiwain.
Yousef Mohammed, 55, in wheelchair, talks with friends after voting at the Ministry of Culture in Umm Al Qaiwain.

UMM AL QAIWAN // Adel Humaid gave a broad smile and held his ID against his chest after he cast his ballot. He announced enthusiastically: “I’m the first voter.”

As a candidate himself, Mr Humaid said he was optimistic about the day and that he expects quite a few friends and family members to come and vote.

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“I won’t say the number so people don’t jinx me,” said the 45-year-old lawyer.

After candidates cast their ballots, voters kept streaming in, which to some was promising sign considering the size of Um Al Qaiwain.

Of the 3,285 voters chosen to vote in the emirate, about 50 per cent had voted by 2 pm, said Abdullah Salem, head of UAQ’s National Elections Committee. About 15 to 20 per cent were women, he added.

People of all ages, including some senior citizens with disabilities, flocked to the stations during the early hours.

According to Mr Salem, there were no mishaps at the polling station.

“All the devices are up and running. Even the people are not causing problems or chaos.” About six people arrived asking if they were eligible to vote.

“We explained to them they were not and they were very understanding,” Mr Salem said. As for candidates, none tried to cheat by talking to people or gossip about their fellow candidates.

“Some would go to the areas they are not allowed in so we just explained to them that they need to stick to their zones.”

Seif Bu Osaiba, the head of his family, and his son voted for two of his family members who were candidates. Each voter in the emirate can vote for two candidates.

“Omar, Mohammed and Humaid will still come to vote, the rest of my sons,” he said.

Mr Bu Osaiba said it was important for him as the family leader to urge them to perform this national duty.

“I only encourage them to vote, I did not pressure them into voting for the family members specifically,” he said.

hdajani@thenational.ae

hdajani@thenational.ae