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FNC election campaigns begin in earnest

ABU DHABI // Tariq Lootah, undersecretary of the Minister of State for FNC Affairs and head of the Elections Management Committee, said there would be no further changes to the elections schedule.

The start of the FNC elections campaigns was delayed by the three days of mourning for the 45 UAE soldiers killed in Yemen on Friday.

Ahmed bin Humaidan, the head of Dubai’s election committee, said the emirate had issued 19 permits for candidates’ campaign headquarters and advertising campaigns.

“Candidates are expected to go to their home emirate’s elections office, fill an application and provide details on their campaign and their spending prospects,” Mr bin Humaidan said.

He urged candidates to apply for permits as soon as possible so they could take advantage of the campaign period.

The Ajman elections office issued four permits while the Umm Al Quwain elections office has issued 18 permits.

As the campaigns started to take shape, former FNC members who are reapplying vowed to continue what they had started should they be re-elected.

Some said they would continue their stint in the council by highlighting their accomplishments, instead of identifying who they are.

Marwan bin Ghalita, a previous FNC member from Dubai, said he would show voters what his parliamentary campaign was and the many questions, policies and discussions he had during his previous term.

“My campaign is just a way of strengthening my journey in the council. I am mostly using social media because I used it in 2011 and it was successful,” he said.

“My campaign does not include any promises, but it includes my work in the council and which I will continue if I were to be re-elected. I have included what I accomplished in the council and what I wish to persevere with.”

Mr bin Ghalita said that now, as the country’s third election approached, the public was more aware of the FNC and its members. With this in mind, candidates must properly prepare their campaigns.

His themes, he said, were still the same, with a main aim of placing the greatest importance on supporting Emiratis.

“If we have excellent medical facilities, schooling system, environmental system, if they become exceptional, then that will reflect on the overall quality of life,” he said.

Former member from Dubai, Hamad Al Rahoomi, said this time around he would highlight his roles and achievements of his previous term.

“Four years ago I showed my accomplishments, but they were not part of the council. But this time around I am showing my accomplishments in the past four years within the council. Voters must know who I am personally,” he said.

Coming back for a second time posed some difficulties, he said.

“This time, I need to have a better campaign than the people who will run for the first time. It is more difficult for me. A new candidate can say ‘I will do this and that’, and he will not be accountable for what he says.

“I, on the other hand, cannot say ‘I will do’, because I need to have proof of accomplishments to allow the voter to see and know who I am and to vote for me again.

“My way is different this time, and I see that the popularity base must double, or I will have failed. I aim to reach the highest demographic and to be able to reach them I must say, ‘I have done, not I will do’. My competition is still there, and all those who are running, for sure, have the qualifications and the group of people who will vote for them. We are all competing in a honourable manner.”

In line with the start of the campaigns, the National Elections Commission has started explaining to Emiratis how to find out if they are among the 204,000 eligible voters.

Names can be found on www.uaenec.ae, or by calling 600 500 005, or downloading the FNC app from Google Play or the Apple Store.

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(via The National)