FNC elections to be held on October 3

FNC elections to be held on October 3

National Election Committee adopts operational instructions, Single Vote system adopted.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 29 Apr 2015, 5:45 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:17 PM

An FNC session in progress in Abu Dhabi. -Wam

Abu Dhabi - The National Election Committee (NEC) has announced that the third Federal National Council Elections will be held on October 3. It also adopted the operational instructions for the elections in the 10th meeting of the committee at the headquarters of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The instructions represent the legal framework for the implementation of the various stages of the electoral process in the highest degree of transparency and professionalism.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, and Chairman of the NEC, said the Committee is keen to enhance its performance by managing the electoral process for the third time in the country with greater efficiency and better organisational standards.

Dr Gargash said the NEC will implement the electoral process in accordance with the vision of the country’s leadership to promote political participation and enhance the role of Federal National Council as a more effective and representative entity. The committee will focus on the political empowerment programme of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, launched in 2005 to strengthen parliamentary experience and activate the role of the FNC to create more participation and interaction from all the citizens of the country, Dr Gargash said.

New voting system

Dr Gargash explained that the committee during its meetings discussed in detail every aspect of the electoral process before drafting the operational instructions. One of the main outcomes of this process is the adoption of a new voting system called ‘Single Vote’ which requires that the voter choose only one candidate from his or her respective emirate.  

He said that the operational instructions has defined polling centre as the place determined by the NEC for members of the electoral body to vote in the election both within and outside the country. The committee will include names of eligible voters in the UAE and abroad and will later submit information and clarifications on this aspect. 

Stating that elections will be conducted in the highest levels of transparency, Dr Gargash said the operational instructions will contribute to bring together all the parties in the electoral process and increase the confidence in the elections and its outcome.

Counting Committee 

One of the most prominent amendments in the operational instructions is the introduction of ‘Counting Committee’, which is a central committee headed by the Chairman of NEC with membership of experts competent in the following tasks: counting votes using electronic voting system, announcing the results, and identifying a list of reserve members in each emirate.

Appeals Committee

The instructions state that the ‘Appeals Committee’ will be headed by a judge, and will include two members with experience and competence to examine all electoral appeals both with regard to nomination of candidates and the voting process and results. The Appeals Committee will report the legal opinion to the NEC. In the previous elections, the Appeals Committee was headed by the Minister of Justice (a member of the National Election Committee).

The operational instructions granted the Emirates Committees more flexibility in the formation of sub-committees with the approval of the NEC on the administration of elections.

Electoral College

Under Article 3 of the First Chapter, the operational instructions state that each emirate has its own electoral college consisting of a minimum of 300 multiples of their respective seats in accordance with the Constitution with members appointed by the Ruler of each emirate.

With regard to the identification of the right to vote in the elections, the operational instructions provided in Article 5 the right to vote for every citizen whose name is mentioned in the Electoral College of their respective emirate. 

Candidacy Rules

In Article 20, the operational instructions state that each member of the Electoral College has the right to run for elections based on the following eligibility conditions: should be a citizen aged 25 years and above, should have good character and reputation, should not have been convicted for any offence (unless has been rehabilitated in accordance with the law), and should be literate.

Voting mechanism 

The operational instructions adopted electronic voting system as a mechanism for a unified voting inside and outside the country. Article 29 of the operational instructions state that voters must cast their votes through electronic voting systems in polling stations. It states that the practice of using ballot papers must be abandoned.

Election campaign regulations

Article 39 of the instructions state that all candidates have the right to express themselves, and implement any activity aimed at persuading voters, and promote their electoral platforms freely as long as they are committed to the rules and regulations.

Transparency of election expenditure 

Article 44 of the instructions makes it mandatory for the candidates not to exceed their election expenditure than Dh2 million. It also requires candidates to disclose their sources of financing the electoral campaigns.

The operational instructions has authorised the NEC to draw the framework of the electoral process and oversee its conduct as well as contribute to the process of raising awareness.

Awareness building process

Dr Gargash directed the Election Management Committee of the NEC to work on the deployment of operational instructions and educate the public about them through official media channels, social networking sites, newspapers or radio stations. The effort is to raise mass awareness on the electoral process by the electoral bodies in the first stage and then by the candidates at a later stage.

The full text of the National Elections Commission operational instructions can be viewed on www.uaenec.ae. For enquiries on any information related to operational instructions, the National Election Committee contact centre can be contacted through phone number 600500005 from 9am to 5pm. 

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