ABU DHABI // Candidates for the Federal National Council have told of their reasons for stepping forward, as the objection process for the elections began on Monday.
Sheikh Musallam Salem bin Ham Al Ameri said the people of his emirate had asked him to nominate himself. “The idea was crossing my mind, but when the people asked me to run I was happy to,” said Sheikh Al Ameri, 37, chief executive of Kolluna Al Emarat.
The society promotes Emirati identity and trains nationals to deal with emergencies.
“I know people want to hear about my electoral projects but we have not reached that stage.
“And to be honest, when one pitches his ideas another candidate could adopt them, so I will keep the bulk of it to myself until it is time.”
Campaigns cannot begin until September 6 after the process allowing eligible voters to object to candidates is completed.
The first woman to submit her name in Ajman, Eman Al Soom, said she was pleased and nervous to see her name on the list.
“Of course I am happy that my name is there and that encourages me to reach the final,” said Ms Al Soom, 36, who is expecting her fourth child.
“I feel nervous and want the days to pass quickly to know if my name will be on the final list.”
Ms Al Soom said her nerves had been eased by her local FNC committee. “They do their work quickly. It didn’t take five minutes to submit my application. They are collaborative and very organised, and there were no difficulties.”
She said any information nominees needed had been made available to them in leaflets, through call centres and at the awareness lectures that ran across the country.
Maitha Al Romaithi, one of 24 women nominated from Abu Dhabi, said she had a moral obligation to ensure the well-being of all families. “It is my objective to serve that vital unit in society.”
Naser Al Ali, a network engineer from Fujairah who has worked in telecommunications for 15 years, said national duty was one reason for nominating himself. “My family and friends, plus my good relationship with the surrounding community and national duty, encouraged me to register and I’m really happy and thankful that my name is among the list of FNC candidates.”
Essa Al Fard, of Umm Al Quwain, said he would be pleased to reach the final list and happy for anyone who won a spot on the council.
“I hope the things go well so I can achieve my goal but the main point is to provide service to the home country and citizens,” said Mr Al Fard, 56.
“And if I am one of the winners, thank God, and if not I will wish success to any winner and I won’t be upset.”
Mr Al Fard, a former director of the Department of Economic Development in UAQ, said the emirate’s electoral committee had been in touch with candidates before the nomination day to fill them in on details.
Sheikh Al Ameri said he prayed that the 20 elected councillors would be those most capable of helping nationals and expats, whether it was him or someone else.
“A large number of expats live in the UAE so their concerns and welfare should be taken into account as well,” he said.
Objections can be lodged until Wednesday, with the final list of candidates to be published on August 31.
Only those eligible to vote can file an objection, using a form from the National Election Committee. Those objecting must pay a Dh3,000 deposit, to be returned only if their objection is accepted.
Objections will need supporting documents for evidence to be examined by the appeals committee of a judge and two legal experts.
Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and chairman of the National Election Committee, urged voters to check whether their names were on the voters’ list.
A preliminary list of 347 candidates was released by the NEC this week, with 22 per cent of them women.
* Additonal reporting by Ruba Haza and Rezan Oueiti
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(via The National)