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Hundreds turn out for early FNC voting in Sharjah

SHARJAH // Young and old turned out in their hundreds to cast their ballots in Sharjah.

Walking with the aid of a cane and his son, Abdullah Suhail, 85, was voting for the first time.

“Our family have chosen to support a candidate and I came here to do so,” he said.

From near the border with Oman, Heira Al Katbi and her daughter Fatima came to the Sharjah Chess Club, opposite the airport, to cast their vote early because they did not want to face the rush on election day next month.

“We live in Al Madam and we want the candidate we voted for to work on medical care in our area,” Fatima said.

Her 69-year-old mother agreed, saying that the medical clinic in their area lacked basic necessities. “We want clinics and hospitals similar to Dubai to help the residents get medical care, instead of travelling distances to receive proper treatment,” she said.

FNC candidate Salamah Mohammed Al Katbi came to cast her vote at 10am and, even though she could have voted for herself, she said she opted for a fellow candidate.

“I chose a candidate who I followed up on and thought his campaign plan was good for the country,” she said. But she was still hopeful that she would be elected.

Mohammed Saleh and his sister, Ayesha, who came from Al Raqa, voted for his son Saleh. “He is a good man and, if he gets elected, we will push him to work hard to carry out his plan,” said Ayesha, 65.

Amna Alzaabi, from Sharjah’s central region, hoped the candidates would work on raising the emirate’s youth properly. “I chose a candidate after I read the plans of others and I hope he follows through,” she said.

The Government employee said she thought the most important issue for the nation was to educate the youth and raise them properly so that they became the leaders of the future.

Ali Qasim Ali, 56, was passing by and wanted to assess the voting process. “I decided to cast my vote because there was no overcrowding and the process of voting did not take more than few minutes,” he said.

“I hope the candidates work on enhancing the services for retired Emiratis and health services. I urge candidates who win a seat to carry out the agendas they promised the voters.”

Abdulrahman bin Taliah said the early voting period gave him a “golden chance” and organisers had done a great job in making the whole process easy.

“I work in the private sector and usually have to travel without notice. I was worried I would be out of the country on voting day, on October 3, so I didn’t want to lose the chance to vote today,” he said.

“This is also a chance to serve the nation, even though it has only a small role. But, from my point of view, voters must choose the correct candidate based on their characters, and whoever wins we have to support that person as they are all our representatives.”

Mr Taliah said the candidate he chose had the background and experience to be a part of the council.

“More than one person has the characteristics to run and I see that they have the ability to speak for the people and discuss the issues with the required language,” he said.

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* Additional reporting by Ayesha Al Khoori

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(via The National)