Historic polls yield first round winners

Anand Sagar (Assistant Editor)
Filed on December 17, 2006

A TREMENDOUS upsurge of euphoria and excitement was witnessed in both the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and in Fujairah yesterday, as also the rest of the country, as the names of the first winners in the country’s first Federal National Council elections were flashed last night.

First winners

Of the four winners in Abu Dhabi, Amal Abdullah Juma Karam Al Qubaisi (265 votes), secured the distinction of being the first woman to be elected to the FNC. The other three winners included Mohammed Mohammed Ali Fadhil Al Hameli (304 votes), Ahmed Shabib Mohammed Al Dhaheri (302 votes) and Rashid Musabah Al Knidi Al Marrar (194 votes).

In Fujairah, by an interesting quirk of fate both winners, Sultan Ahmed Danakhani (122 votes) and Ahmed Saeed Al Danakhani (94 votes), belong to the same family. However, the lone woman candidate in the fray, Moza Khamis Ali Al Suwaidi, could secure only five votes. Earlier in the day yesterday, the mood and the enthusiasm quite matched the moment. And as voters of the select Electoral College cast the initial votes, they were well aware of the historical significance of UAE’s first parliamentary polls. Half the members of the 40-member FNC are being elected directly in these polls through the select Electoral College. The remaining would be appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates.

The brisk voting process began simultaneously at 8am in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah — two of the country’s seven emirates that had the distinction of being the first to go to the polls. While Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah will witness voting tomorrow, Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain will go to the polls on Wednesday.

Poll mode

Commenting on the pace and the momentum of the democratic process which has been set in motion in the Emirates, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), said: “We have succeeded in presenting a civilised model of polling...(and) it makes us feel proud.”

The visiting Bahraini Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa, added “this first step (is) an important one in laying the foundations for wider participation (of the people) in the country.”

Enhancing the credibility and integrity of the FNC polls was the fact that till late last night, there were no complaints by any of the candidates regarding the conduct of the polls.

But as the former first deputy speaker of the FNC, Ahmed Shabeeb Al Dhaheri, pointed out perceptively: The true test of democracy is yet to come. It will come, he added, when those who have been elected now have to honour the promises and pledges.

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