Thousands head to polls on final day of FNC elections
Abu Dhabi - The voting on October 5, began at 8am and ends at 8pm.
The love to participate in the nation's decision-making through their vote and the keenness to exercise their democratic right, were among top reasons that pushed many Emiratis to the polls on the final day of FNC elections.
Thousands of Emiratis across the nation headed to the polls to participate in the Federal National Council (FNC) elections, the nation's largest election, on Saturday - the main day of elections, to cast votes for their preferred candidates.
The voting on October 5, began at 8am and ends at 8pm when voting at the 39 polling centres across the nation will shut down, the votes counted, and the preliminary list of winners of the FNC 2019 elections announced.
From October 1 to 3, there were three days of early voting held across nine polling centres, especially for senior citizens, people of determination and those who couldn't make it on the election day.
A high turnout of voters has been recorded at polling centres since day one of the voting process, reflecting the awareness of citizens on the importance of their participation and parliamentary work in the UAE. This was also demonstrated in the overwhelming interaction shown by various community members, including women, the youth, and people of determination.
Mix of young and elderly voters
At the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) polling station, the main polling centre in the Capital, the final day of the elections saw a mix of young and old Emiratis casting their vote.
First time voter, Amnah Al Yamahi, 27, says she's happy to be taking part in the nation's decision making through voting the candidate of her choice.
"I am excited about participating in the elections for the first time," Al Yamahi said to Khaleej Times after casting her vote.
"It is good thing that we are able to take part in the nation's decision-making through electing FNC members of our choice, who will deliver our voice to the government."
She said she voted for a candidate who's known to her and is aware of the ongoing social changes and trends in the country, and can commit to positive changes.
26-year-old, Amer Abdullah, who works with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and is participating in the elections for the second time says for him elections means exercising his democratic right.
"Casting my vote is one way of serving my nation and exercising my rights," said Abdullah adding that he voted for a youth candidate because he will represent him well in the next FNC.
"Youth make a big part of our community and it's good to choose a young person who knows about the concerns of the youth as he can present them well to the house."
Emirati businessman, Nasser Al Zaabi, who cast his vote after 10am said his concern is mainly about the retired persons and he voted for a candidate who will present ideas for how to better care for elderly Emiratis.
"The idea of reducing salaries and other benefits for the citizens after they have retired from employment is not a good one," said Al Zaabi.
"These people have big families to look after and if you cut their benefits, it will significantly affect their standards of living. It is good thing that the salaries of elderly citizens remain the same even after retirement so they are not affected financially."
The National Election Commission said it is preserving the accuracy, transparency and integrity of the electoral process, while ensuring a smooth voting process.
Number of candidates, voters
A total of 479 candidates have been competing for the 20 FNC seats with the rest of the 20 representatives to be appointed by the rulers of the each of the seven emirates.
A total of 337,738 citizens out of more than one million Emiratis have been eligible to take part in this year's elections. This year's list also includes greater inclusion of women and young people, with Emirati women representing 50.62 per cent and people aged 21 to 40 making up 61.32 per cent.
During the last FNC election in 2015, about 224,000 Emiratis were eligible to vote, up from 129,000 in 2011 and from fewer than 7,000 in 2006.
50 percent of the next FNC will be women and this follows the directive issued in 2018 by The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Women held only 8 of the 40 available seats in the previous FNC.