The Federal National Council
The Federal National Council (FNC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the UAE’s five federal authorities, as established by the Constitution. Its first session was opened on 2 December 1972. The FNC’s official mandate is to provide for public debate of legislation. Furthermore, the FNC discusses proposals and plans of various federal ministries, entities and public institutions.
- There are 40 members of the FNC, apportioned amongst the UAE’s seven emirates.
- Since 2006, one-half of FNC members have been elected to serve four-year terms (the other half of the body is comprised of officials who have been appointed by the Ruler’s Court of the UAE’s seven emirates).
- Of the current FNC members, eight are women. In the 2011 elections, 85 of the 468 candidates were women.
The FNC sessions, held in Abu Dhabi, are open to the public, except in exceptional closed sessions, which must be approved by a majority vote of the Council.
The Electoral Process
In 2006, the UAE established an electoral college system, whereby half of the FNC’s 40 seats were chosen by designated electors. In line with the UAE’s commitment to expand political participation amongst citizens in a measured and sustainable way, the size of the UAE’s electoral college greatly increased for the 2011 election. In 2011, there are 129,274 electors nationwide, compared to 6,689 in the 2006 contest.
- In 2011, 46% of all electors are women and 35% of all electors are between the ages of 21 and 30.
- Elections are conducted via secret ballot at electronic voting machines in thirteen polling centers throughout the UAE.
- Any member of the electoral college can be a candidate for the FNC.
- FNC candidates are required to run on individual platforms, and campaign financing is strictly regulated. Campaigns are privately financed, and the use of public funds for campaigning is prohibited. Each campaign must submit financial disclosure forms.
- Candidates are encouraged to report complaints or irregularities to the National Elections Committee, which is authorized to review such issues provided they are raised within 48 hours of the close of polling.
Last updated 17-May-2012.