News / Middle East

1 Woman, 19 Men Elected to UAE's National Assembly

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (C), vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, casts his vote at a polling station during the Federal National Council elections in Dubai, September 24, 2011.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (C), vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, casts his vote at a polling station during the Federal National Council elections in Dubai, September 24, 2011.

Voters in the United Arab Emirates elected 19 men and one woman to the UAE's legislative advisory body in the country's second-ever national poll.

Women made up nearly 20 percent of those running in Saturday’s Federal National Council elections. According to preliminary results, Sheikha al-Ari from the lesser known emirate of Umm al-Quwain and 19 Emirati men will be appointed to the 40-seat assembly. The other 20 members will be chosen by the country’s leaders.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash expressed disappointment in the low number of successful female candidates.

However, Dubai voter Sara Khalif al-Kamda was more optimistic.

“At the end of the day, we are all UAE citizens and we’ve all won,” she said.

Election day saw a low turnout with only a little more than a quarter of the roughly 129,000 eligible voters, hand-picked by the government, casting their ballots.

Authorities increased the size of the electorate earlier in the year in consideration of the pro-democracy uprisings in the region. The UAE itself has largely avoided opposition unrest. Toby Jones, assistant professor of Middle East History at Rutgers University, says voter apathy in the world’s third largest oil exporter can largely be attributed to the fact that the FNC has no real law-making power.

Images of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, left, and Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE president, right, adorns a tower at Internet City, in Dubai (File Photo).
Images of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, left, and Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE president, right, adorns a tower at Internet City, in Dubai (File Photo).

“Citizens will say of course that they’re happy to see there’s some semblance of reform going forward, but at the same time, they’ll admit there’s no political empowerment that comes from these elections,” said Jones.

The FNC is responsible for submitting draft laws that may or may not be approved by the nation’s ruling families.

Five Emirati activists were arrested earlier in the year and are currently on trial for signing a petition calling for more power for the body.

Nevertheless, Dubai voter Saeed al-Otibi says this year’s vote is proof that the nation is committed to democratic reform.

“We cannot say it will change 100 percent, but for the future, it's a nice step," he said. "I think it will help the people here to change a lot of things.”

Voter turnout was also poor in neighboring Bahrain, which held parliamentary by-elections on Saturday.

The ballot was held to fill 18 seats abandoned by members of the opposition al-Wefaq party, who quit in protest over the government’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations earlier in the year. The election was boycotted by al-Wefaq and other opposition parties.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid