The Federal National Council Elections of 2006 were held whereby half of the members of the Council were elected by the electoral colleges formed in each emirate. It came in implementation of the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Union No. (4) of 2006, followed by the President of the UAE’s decision No. (3) of 2006, which determined the procedures to select the emirates’ representatives in the Council. The resolution limited the number of members of the electoral college in each emirate to at least one hundred times the number of representatives for each emirate (8 members each for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 6 for Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, and 4 members for Al Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain). The other half shall be appointed by the rulers of the emirates.
The decision also stipulated the formation of the National Elections Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, and delineated its mandate, which includes announcing the list of candidates for each emirate, issuing a timetable for the elections to determine the dates for starting the candidature process; specifying the dates set for candidature withdrawal and the dates of scheduling of the elections; as well as the dates of appeals in the elections; the final announcement for elections results; the call for elections in each emirate and the date for convening; the formation of the sub-committees for the elections; the definition of the scope of their competencies; the formation of teams charged with implementing the electoral process; the adoption of the proposals submitted by the Elections Management Committee concerning the forms, tables, documents and official seals of the electoral processes; the allocation of an electoral centre in each emirate based on the recommendations of the Committee; the approval of the proposed financial rewards from the Elections Management Committee, the final declaration of the elections’ winners, in addition to undertaking the necessary measures for their membership in the FNC.
The first elections were held to elect half of the members of the FNC in December 2006 – a total of 6,595 members – with a percentage of 26.4% in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, 23% in the Emirate of Dubai, 15.4% in the Emirate of Sharjah, 6.6% in the Emirate of Ajman, 6.1% in the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain, 16% in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, and 6.3% in the Emirate of Al Fujairah.
The number of candidates for the FNC membership in these elections from all the emirates amounted to 456 candidates, including 100 members for Abu Dhabi (21.9%), 82 members for Dubai (18%), 101 members for Sharjah (22.1%), 24 members for Ajman (5.3%), 29 members for Umm Al Quwain (6.4%), 83 members for Ras Al Khaimah (18.2%), and 37 members for Al Fujairah (8.1%).
Considering the significant role that women play in public life, the leadership was keen to empower and encourage them to take part in political life, mainly through membership in the Council of Ministers and the FNC. This reflects a great awareness and a political maturity on the part of our leaders and their deeply held belief in women’s potential as an active partner in building the future of the country. The inclusion of women in the FNC is a critical step forward in parliamentary work; it grants them the right to run for office, as well as the opportunity to vote – a clear message that their presence on the political arena is of utmost importance. This stands in contrast to other countries where women took decades in their struggle to obtain the right to vote.
Election campaigns tackled social issues affecting UAE citizens’ lives, such as national identity, job opportunities and Emiratization, education, health, women’s and children’s rights, housing, and improving the standard of living for citizens. The campaigns reflected the strong bond between the candidates and their country, as well as their sense of responsibility toward people’s concerns.
The National Elections Committee has adopted an electronic voting system rather than a traditional one, using computer technology to record and store candidate and voter data, verify voters’ identity, and then count the votes for each candidate – an efficient process characterized by accuracy and speed.
The overall participation rate reached 74.4% at the national level, with a 60% turnout in Abu Dhabi, 71.05% in Dubai, 82.20% in Sharjah, 85.09% in Ajman, 88.83% in Umm Al Quwain, 78.98% in Ras Al Khaimah and 90.41% in Al Fujairah.