Under the UAE system of government, the president is elected by a body known as the Supreme Council of Rulers. The Supreme Council is the top policy-making body in the UAE, and the president and vice president are both elected from its membership for renewable five-year terms.
The Supreme Council has both legislative and executive powers. In addition to planning and ratifying federal laws, the Supreme Council approves the president’s nominated prime minister and is equipped to accept his resignation, if required.
The prime minister is appointed by the president. He or she then appoints a Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, to oversee the development and implementation of federal policy across all governmental institutions. Currently, nine of the Cabinet’s 32 members are women, including Minister of State for Youth Affairs, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, one of the world’s youngest government ministers.
In addition to the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers, a 40-member parliament known as the Federal National Council (FNC) also examines proposed new legislation and provides advice to the UAE Cabinet, as required. The FNC is empowered to call and question ministers in regard to their performance, providing an additional degree of accountability to the system. Groundbreaking developments to open up decision-making were made in December 2006, with the first indirect election of FNC members. Previously, all FNC members were appointed by the rulers of each Emirate.
In line with the UAE’s commitment to expand political participation among citizens in a measured and sustainable way, the size of the UAE’s Electoral College consists of 337,738 electors in 2019.The 2019 process resulted in an FNC in which 50% of the seats were allocated to women.