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September: The FNC Elections and the small voter turn out
December 27, 2011 9:57 by Eva Fernandes
The one thing we remember September 2011 for is the FNC elections. Unlike the first election in 2006 when just fewer than 7,000 nationals were selected to vote, this time around, the NEC has indeed made headlines as it has been revealed that up to 130,000 Emiratis have been selected to vote. Out of the 130,000, women account for 46 per cent of the electorate.
This year, there were 468 candidates running for election. Of these 85 are women, a considerable number considering that 63 women stood for the first election way back in 2006.
Kipp followed the elections closely; we even had a special section on the site for interviews with a select few of the candidates. But because we are sceptics like that, we even had a small section on the Kipp board for estimates on voter turnout. For what it’s worth the Kipper writing this recap was blissfully optimistic, predicting something around the figure of 65 percent. Yet, come election day, Kipp’s Editor and resident realist Precious de Leon was closer to the number than I was.:
Down but not out—high hopes despite low UAE voter turnout
September 25, 2011
How interested are Emiratis on a parliamentary future? Precious de Leon hopes the small yet hopeful voter turnout proves the need for faster national integration of the election process.
Though I did not go to the election halls across the country, I could imagine they were relatively packed. After all 1,000 people crammed into a voting arena can be easily perceived as a massive turnout.
By Thursday afternoon, after having followed the elections from the beginning, my voter turnout forecast was 25 percent. It was a conservative number and I was hoping my prediction was wrong and that a lot more people out of the 133,000 would actually show up to do their part in the election process.
But reports show only slightly more numbers than I predicted, Reuters reports voter turnout at 28 percent.
Would this number have been higher if all eligible UAE nationals were allowed to vote? I believe the answer to this is yes, if not only a little.
Would it have been a higher voter turnout if the Federal National Council (FNC) had more than an advisory remit? Yes, absolutely.
And in some ways, the Rulers of the UAE recognise this. Here’s a Gulf News video with Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad that alludes to the need for more involvement from the citizens and looking back at how discussions were done years ago.