The parliamentary life in the UAE started long before the Union formation, through the councils of the Rulers of the Emirates, which were key meeting points for exchanging views and advice between the Rulers and citizens to treat the latters concerns and respond to their aspirations.
Then, the Constitution of the Union State came to affirm the desire of the UAE’s Rulers to lay the creation of a federal government on solid foundations that will prepare the people for a free and dignified constitutional life, and a democratic parliamentary system with integrated components. As such, the article (45) of the Constitution stipulates that the FNC shall be the 4th (federal) authority in the hierarchy of the five federal authorities provided for in the Constitution.
Accordingly, the Federal National Council (FNC) was established in 1972 as the most prominent image of citizen participation in political decision-making in the country. This was confirmed by H.H Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in his speech delivered at the opening of the first ordinary session of the first legislative chapter of the Council on February 13, 1972, when he noted that: “This country is engaged in creating life on the soil of this good land, and building a brilliant, bright and prosperous future for us and for the coming generations”.
The FNC contributes to the political decision-making in the State from discussing and approving the federal laws to regulating the affairs of society and dealing with the questions addressed from its members to the concerned ministers on issues related to citizens and their needs, or exchanging opinion on general topics with the government for the interest of the country and the citizen.
Then the empowerment program was launched by H.H Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his speech on the occasion of the 34th National Day in 2005, which activated the powers of the FNC and granted it full authority to support the executive leadership, making it the largest and most effective council to deal with the UAE people issues and concerns giving them full access to opportunities. It was established on the values of participation and the consultative approach of Al Shura, paving the way for a better participation of the citizens in the political life.
The process of activating the role of the FNC began through the election of half of its members through electoral bodies, and the appointment of the other half by the Rulers of the Emirates, as a start to a successful process of participation and interaction from the people of the UAE. Accordingly, three elections have been held to select half of the members of the FNC until now in (2006, 2011, and 2015).
Also, the constitutional amendment No. (1) was Issued in 2009, which stipulated for the extension of the term of the FNC from two to four years, and the extension of term of the session from six to a period of not less than seven months. The Council was also granted greater independence in the drafting of its internal regulations in addition to expanding the Council’s specialties in relation to international treaties and conventions concluded by the Government.