Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash during the lecture
His Excellency Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Federal National Council (FNC) Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC) said that the 2011 FNC elections reflect the evolving and developing phase in the political outlook of the UAE, and is part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, to strengthen political participation through a progressive model that reflects the aspirations of the country.
Speaking at a lecture organized at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, Dr Gargash said: “The UAE leadership believes that political participation is an integral part of the overall development of the country. The Federal National Council is a powerful platform for political participation and positively impacts the process of decision-making.”
The lecture was attended by His Excellency Dr.Saeed Al Ghafli, Assistant Undersecretary for Federal National Council, the Committee’s Rapporteur, and Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, VP of Zayed University, and university students and staff.
"The election to the Federal National Council this year is the second in the history of UAE. The first elections in 2006 was a huge success and part of a gradual change and overall development programme to develop the political outlook, strengthen the role of the Council, enhance political participation and partnership between Legislative and executive authorities, and to underscore the achievements of UAE,” said Dr Anwar Gargash.
"The current conditions in the region highlight the fact that UAE is going in the right direction, as it adopts a policy of progressive development to build on its overall achievements. The leadership's vision to promote political participation presents a balanced view of priorities and national duties, marking the electoral experience alongside successful economic and social development,” he added.
"Based on this approach, the number of electoral college members in the 2011 elections will be at least 300 times the number of FNC seats, compared with it being over 100 times during the 2006 elections. His Highness the President of UAE has not limited the number of participants in the electoral colleges to mark the growing role of the Federal National Council.”
Talking on the experience of the Federal National Council in the past four years, Dr. Gargash said: "The FNC adopted a number of national issues and succeeded in expressing the concerns of the UAE citizens. Its efforts received overwhelming response from the government, which reacted positively to the various recommendations.”
Dr Gargash said that the experience of the FNC is positive across all levels. “The representation of women in the Council was over 22 per cent of the total members, reflecting the strong participation of women in the public and political spheres and the active role they play in shaping national dialogue.”
Dr. Anwar Gargash hailed the efforts of different bodies involved in the National Elections Committee to ensure the success of the electoral process. “The Committee has announced the schedule for various stages of the electoral process ahead of time to grant the public the opportunity to understand its content. The Committee has also issued instructions and booklets to further strengthen awareness of the electoral process among the public.”
The National Election Committee has seen an increase in the number of its members in 2011, including a larger segment of representatives of institutions as well as three public figures, which reflects the commitment to learn from the election experience of 2006.
Dr Gargash also took questions from the audience and addressed them at the lecture event.
The National Election Committee (NEC) was established in February 2011 by a Decision of the UAE Supreme Council to exercise all powers necessary to oversee the election of representatives from the seven emirates in the country to the Federal National Council (FNC). The NEC’s terms of reference include the general framework of the electoral process and overall supervision of the conduct of the elections. The NEC will also support outreach and education efforts relating to the elections, issue guidelines on the electoral process and identify polling stations in each emirate. In addition, the NEC is authorised to adopt procedures to form the legal framework for elections, as well as to decide on the list of voters and day of the election.
The National Election Committee is chaired by the Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. Other members include the Minister of Justice; Minister of Education; Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; Secretary-General of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; representative from the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs; Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior; Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs; Director General of Emirates Identity Authority and the Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Federal National Council Affairs in the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs. The NEC also has three public figures chosen by the Chairman.