x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Women to the fore in FNC elections

Female voters account for 46 per cent of the total electoral college.

DUBAI // Women and younger voters will play a crucial role in the Federal National Council elections in September, officials said yesterday.

Females account for 46 per cent of the electoral college and 35 per cent are between the ages of 21 and 30. In total, 129,274 people are eligible to vote on September 24. The National Election Committee (NEC), which is steering the largest poll the Emirates has seen, said 59,991 on the roll are women and 69,283 are men.

Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairman of the NEC, said the figures were testament to the UAE's commitment to treat all people equally. "Women represent half of the society and they are the ones best able to understand issues concerning women and other groups," he said. "The participation of women is a necessity, and not a luxury, which will lay strong foundations for an open and advanced society, well-aligned with our culture and history."

He cited a recent UN study which showed the UAE was the leading nation in the Middle East and North Africa for female empowerment.

More than 22 per cent of the members in the previous Federal National Council were women and the Cabinet has four female ministers.

In Abu Dhabi, more women are eligible to vote than men - 52 per cent. In Dubai the figure is 47 per cent; Sharjah 48 per cent; Ajman 39 per cent; Umm Al Qaiwain 33 per cent; Ras Al Khaimah is 38 per cent, , and 30 per cent in Fujairah.

Of the age of the electorate, Dr Gargash said: "Young people constitute a fundamental pillar of development in society.

"They are an important segment and it is imperative to involve and encourage them to be part of our political life. They are also our link with future generations and essential elements in the sustainable progress and development of the UAE," he said.

People can check for their names in the electoral college at www.uaenec.ae or through the NEC's call centre on 6005 6661.