Polling picks up, one FNC candidate dies of heart attack

Polling picks up, one FNC candidate dies of heart attack
Emiratis vote during FNC election at Dubai World Trade Centre

Dubai/ Ajman/ Ras Al Khaimah/ Sharjah - Voting booths in Sharjah fill up later in the day in the areas of Al Dhaid and Maleeha,and Al Khan area.

By Ahmed Shabaan, Afkar Abdullah, Bernd Debusmann Jr

Published: Sat 3 Oct 2015, 10:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 4 Oct 2015, 6:03 PM

A candidate for the Federal National Council elections in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah died of heart attack at his residence on Saturday morning.
Candidate Abdul Aziz Ahmed Al Shehi was the first ever candidate to have died during the FNC election on the day of voting.
Tariq Hilal Lootah, Undersecretary at the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs and head of the elections management committee, told Khaleej Times: "The votes given to Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, the FNC candidate who suddenly died of a heart attack at home around 6.30am on Saturday will be cancelled later."
"Nothing can be done to the electronic voting system now. It cannot be touched by anyone until the end of voting at 8pm," he said.
The turnout of voters was weak in the morning period at final day of FNC at Sharjah voting poll, but a better turnout is expected this noon. Top officials of government departments arrived in the morning and voted. They said that they voted for the respective candidates on the basis on experience and qualification; and not due to any family relation.
Voters of different generations have been voting. While some residents chose to vote in the areas of Al Dhaid and Maleeha, others chose Al Khan area. Sharjah Police patrols have been deployed at the entrance and exit of the booths, security has been beefed up in various parts of the building directing voters, checking badges and IDs. Reporters are stationed in the media centre to cover the special day for the UAE.
An official of the Sharjah Election Committee said that the voting process is now going ahead smoothly, due to effective coordination between security and committee members, who were assisting voters. He added that early elections have offered an alternative opportunity for citizens who may not be able to vote on the Election today and contributed to reducing the crowd at the polls.  "We are expecting great turn out by evening", he said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, praised the organization of the election process calling it the "nation's greatest celebration. Voting is a national duty of every citizen who has the right to practice democracy by selecting the candidate he/she believes has the ability to convey their voices."
He explained that many UAE nationals think that the FNC would not serve them, but this is a wrong concept. The FNC members in their position are capable of addressing issues and pushing for solutions through decision and decrees. Many of the candidates in previous FNC have succeeded in making changes in their own community.
- Afkar Abdullah

"It was very fast, and very transparent"
A slow but steady trickle of voters arrived to cast their votes for the Federal National Council (FNC) general elections on Saturday morning.
The mood was jubilant at Dubai World Trade Centre - one of 36 polling stations across the UAE - as people arrived to vote for their favored candidate.
"In the UAE and in Dubai, the government provides us with everything, there is no doubt about that," voter Tareq Majjan told Khaleej Times. "But such processes and such procedures (such as the elections) can help smooth over some delays which UAE residents face and can help raise awareness.
At the voting station, Emirati electoral workers were on hand to help people check in and guide them to one of several dozen touch screen e-voting machines. Most voters finished the process within minutes.
"It was very fast, and very transparent. The staff was very fast and very welcoming, from the minute I came in until when I voted," Majjan added.
A total of 330 candidates, including 60 from Dubai, are vying for 20 FNC seats. Of the 224,279 eligible voters, 37,663 cast their ballots during the three early voting days this week.
Majjan - who said he was mostly concerned with financial and banking sector reforms - said that he believes the elections are good for the UAE.
"This is good. Now everyone knows about the issues," he said. "These (candidates) are people who we can reach to talk to about things."
Preliminary winners will be announced immediately after the polls close on Saturday evening, and the National Election Commission will approve a final list of winners on October 11.
- Bernd Debusmann Jr
It was a slow start to election day at poling booths across the Emirates on Saturday morning. By midday though the slowness had ebbed, as Emiratis turned began to turn up inconsiderable numbers. Very few women voters were spotted, faces concealed. Jawaher Salem AL Matrushi, 25, was one of the first women voters. 
One of the early voters in Ajman, Jaber Nasser Humaid Al Shams , 9, told Khaleej Times, only 40% of FNC candidates were upto the level and could competently represent UAE voters.
Of the other early birds were Brig Saleh Saeed AL Matrushi, Director General of Ajman Civil Defence Department.
Inside the polling centre in Ajman, voters flocked to cast their vote at the ballots. People gave way to the handicapped citizens who went first.
A makeshift clinic at the Ajman polling booth was set up for the comfort of voters.
Emiratis begin voting in FNC election
Special needs amongst first voters as polling started at 8am sharp in Ajman.
Wheel-chaired Rashid Jassim Khalaf Al Shamsi, born in 1928, based in Sharjah, but voted in Ajman praised easy voting procedures. This is his first time to vote.
Comfort Jawaher Salem Al Matrushi, 25, of the first women voters.
A Makeshift clinic for emergency cases at Ajman polling centre, head office of ministry of social affairs has also been set up.
Jaber Nasser Humaid Al Shamsi, 49, believes that only 40 per cent of FNC candidates are up to level and can competently represent UAE voters
He was briefed on voting procedures before casting his ballot.

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