Article in brief: the author lists the dates for all the FNC election activities, and discusses few of the main misconceptions surrounding it in the community.
By the time you read this, the Federal National Council (FNC) registration phase would have finally ended. But as we all know, this is the first step towards political empowerment in the FNC. The registration for the candidacy ended on Thursday 20th of August 2015 and on the 23rd of the same month the initial list of candidates was announced. The timeline of the election process is precise and clear and the final list of the candidates has been confirmed and released.
There are more steps to be followed through the timeline announced by National Election Committee, via all means of media including social media:
- The committee’s announcement of nominations (13th August 2015)
- Candidates’ registrations (16th-20th August 2015).
- The announcement of the initial eligible candidates’ list (23th August 2015)
- Presenting any objection against the candidates’ applications (24th-26th August).
- Objections committee’s reply on the objections (27th August 2015)
- The announcement of the final list of candidates (31st August 2015)
- The candidates campaigns period (6th– 30th September 2015)
- Final chance of candidacy withdrawals (14th September 2015)
- The submission of candidates’ representatives or agents (14th September 2015)
- Early voting at UAE embassies abroad (20th and 21st September 2015)
- Early voting inside the UAE (28th-30th September 2015)
- Electoral silence (1st-2nd October 2015)
- Official voting day, and Initial election results will be announced (3rd October 2015)
- Appeals against the poll results (4th-6th October 2015)
- The committee’s reply to the appeals (7th and 8th October 2015)
- Final list of the 20 successful candidates announced (11th October 2015) – if supplementary elections* are not required -.
- Supplementary elections (10th October 2015)
- Initial poll results (10th October 2015)
- Appeals against the supplementary election results (15th October 2015)
- The approval of the final list of winning candidates.
* The supplementary elections are only needed when there is a tie between multiple candidates in one emirate, making the total number of elected candidates more than the number assigned for that emirate.
The early voting phase has already started at the embassies of the UAE and election centers. However, it does not mean that all voters fully understand what the FNC is all about. Therefore, so many misunderstandings and misconceptions have been circling around the community in regards to the FNC. The Emirati community is still new to what political empowerment is supposed to be about. This leads to the inability to choose the deserving candidate and sadly many members of our community end up refusing to vote for the rightful candidate.
One of the misconceptions that has been going on since 2006 is the idea that the FNC members receive extremely high monthly salary that goes up to AED 1,000,000 per month. This unbelievable monthly payment is simply not true, the actual monthly salary for the FNC members is AED 50,000. Another misconception that I have personally been hearing from different people of our community is about a reward given to the FNC members upon winning the poll. This alleged monetary reward was said to go between AED 1,000,000 to AED 5,000,000. The National Election Committee has made it clear through different newspapers that such monetary rewards do not exist.
Another issue our community faces is the inability to vote for candidates based on merit. Instead, people are voting based on friendships and relationships, without putting in consideration that there are better candidates to vote for. Some are actually forced to vote for specific candidates not because they find them to be the most deserving, but because they think elections may not be confidential. I have personally heard voters express their concerns about the confidentiality of the poll results and requested to see actual facts addressed through the UAE National Election Committee. However, questions have been raised to the committee via twitter and no response has come forth as of yet.
What I believe to be the most dangerous and most crucial misconception is the level of authority given to the members of the council. Some candidates have made it sound that they have more authority than they actually do by making promises they cannot fulfill. What many Emiratis don’t get is the fact that this is only the third term of an election based FNC. It is still a very new experience and in order for it to fulfill its actual role in political empowerment; it needs to go through the advisory phase it is in at the moment.
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An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
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