Abu Dhabi - It was a nail-biting wait for the 479 candidates and their supporters, who were in the fray after a month-long campaigning.
Twenty new members to the Federal National Council (FNC) - including seven women, were elected on Saturday in the biggest-ever democratic process the UAE has seen till date.
It was a nail-biting wait for the 479 candidates and their supporters, who were in the fray after a month-long campaigning.
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, announced the names of the twenty candidates from across the UAE, who emerged winners in the elections, immediately after the counting of the votes were over.
In Abu Dhabi, Suhail Al Faali, Khalifan Rashid Al Shamsi, Naema Al Mansouri and Moza Mohammed Al Amri were declared winners.
In Dubai, Hamad Al Rahoumi, Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafan, Maryam Majid Khalifan bin Sunayyah and Sara Mohammad Amin Falkinaz were declared as winners.
In Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, three top candidates from each emirate were announced winners while two winners were announced from Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain.
When the announcement was made from the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) polling station at around 10pm on Saturday after the extended voting time till 9pm, there were tears of joy and disappointment.
Naema Al Mansouri, the winner from Abu Dhabi said she was happy that people entrusted her with the leadership.
"I am so excited about winning this election," Al Mansouri told Khaleej Times.
"It has been such a stiff competition but thank God, I have emerged a winner. I promise to represent my people with due diligence."
Al Mansouri is among the seven women who will fill fifty percent of seats in FNC as the UAE becomes one of the first countries in the world to have women as half of the FNC members.
While twenty candidates were chosen on Saturday through the electoral college, the other 20 that will make the 40-member FNC will be nominated by rulers of each emirate.
The voting on October 5, began at 8am and ended at 9pm, an hour later from the slated time, to allow all citizens to cast their vote. The voting during the four-day elections, the biggest election ever, took place at 39 polling centres across the nation.
A total of 117,592 voters out of the 337, 738 citizens who were eligible for voting participated in the elections- which is 34.8 percent.
Thousands of eager voters - including women, elderly and youngsters - trooped to the voting centres as early as 8am to choose their representatives , who will be the people's voice in the parliament.A high turnout of voters has been recorded at polling centres throughout the electoral process, from overseas voting late last month to the early voting phase from October 1 to 3 and, finally, on Saturday.
"The election process has been very smooth and we are happy that citizens have exercised their right of choosing FNC members of their choice," said Noura Al Kaabi.