The United Arab Emirates says it will hold its first limited elections for seats on the country's national assembly.
In a speech marking National Day Thursday, UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan said citizens will vote for one-half of 40 seats in the Federal National Council.
The president said the action was being taken as part of a move within the region towards reform. He gave no date for the election.
The council's 40 members are currently appointed by the seven semi-autonomous emirates that make up the U.S.-allied nation.
The United Arab Emirates is the only country in the mainly conservative Gulf region without elected bodies, after Saudi Arabia held municipal elections earlier this year.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.