x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Women tipped for stronger showing at FNC elections

Women are capable and enrich the FNC so no quotas are required, says Minister of State for FNC Affairs.

Dr Anwar Gargash believes women will be more successful at the polls this year.
Dr Anwar Gargash believes women will be more successful at the polls this year.

ABU DHABI // Dr Anwar Gargash expects the new Federal National Council to include more women than before, but said there will be no gender-based quotas.

At the last elections in 2006, 63 of the 452 candidates were women - but only one was elected.

However, the 40-member council included nine females in total, because they claimed eight of the 20 appointed seats.

Dr Gargash, the Minister of State for FNC Affairs, believes women will be more successful at the polls this year.

"I think that we will see a lot of women candidates and we will see a lot of campaigns by women candidates.

"I think that this is all very healthy, and we hope that these are successfully concluded.

"Last time we had one woman, but many were appointed. The issue of women in the UAE is a big success story."

He said it was extremely important for women to be fully represented on the FNC and for the FNC "to be able to have a fair representation".

But Dr Gargash said there was no need for quotas.

"I think that women are capable of winning elections and that rulers of the various emirates and the appointments in the appointee segment, can actually appoint enough women to make sure that we have representation," he said.

One of the key recommendations of a government-backed 2009 report on women's role in the 2006 elections was that they should be taken off their family books, in order to campaign and vote without a male relative's consent.

That is unlikely to happen this year, according to Dr Gargash.

"But that's a different issue," he said.

"This is about elections. What is extremely important is for women to be fully represented and for us to have that representation in order to enrich the membership that will come."

A 2009 United Nations report rated the UAE as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of female political participation. It noted that as well as the nine women on the FNC, there were four female ministers.

osalem@thenational.ae

hhamid@thenational.ae