FNC candidates kick off election campaign

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A view of the Federal National Council assembly hall in Abu Dhabi. Photo - Khaleej Times

Candidates running for the FNC kickstart their election campaign from Sunday after a lull due to Eid holidays.The council hopefuls have time until the 24th of September to gain voter confidence and court their votes.

The Federal National Council (FNC) was formed 38 years ago, and plays a significant role in the passing of laws, and its reviews and recommendations are of utmost important for the legislation of the UAE.

The National Election Committee (NEC) approved its final list of candidates for the 2011 elections last month, which includes 117 individuals from Abu Dhabi, 124 from Dubai, 93 from Sharjah, 60 from Ras Al Khaimah, 34 from Ajman, 19 from Umm Al Quwain and 21 from Fujairah. Among these candidates 85 are women and account for 46 per cent of the electorate.

In total, there are 40 seats up for grabs.

TRAINING

The Dubai Quality Group (DQG) has organised a training course entitled “How to Run a Successful Electoral Campaign” from September 5th 21st. The course will guide candidates on how to propagate their electoral campaigns and interact with the voters. The course theme emphasises the need for skillful organisation, professional methodology, good management for electoral campaign and direct contact with the constituents.”

The candidates have strict rules to abide by, as for instance, they are not allowed to spend more than 2 million dirhams on their campaigns and must avoid using official state symbols.

Tarek Lootah, undersecretary at the Ministry of State for FNC Affairs and member of the election committee stated, “In devising the rules and regulations of the election campaigns, the NEC seeks to ensure that the campaigns don’t disturb the civil and social image of our cities and do not disturb the residents.”

Candidates have been briefed on what is acceptable or not for their campaigns, and the possible penalties for not abiding by the rules.

Lootah also added that the election campaign enables people to get familiar with the candidates, by gaining awareness of their ideas and pushing forward the importance of FNC, in the UAE. Although the committee was against the use of media interaction by the candidates until Saturday, many of them have been using the internet social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to unofficially introduce themselves, as it is important for them to establish a relationship with those who may vote for them.

“Candidates can announce their agenda for the elections based on the code of conduct only,” said Lootah.

Would-be FNC members are trying to get creative with their campaigns. One candidate, Mansour Al Faheem, plans to mix the old with the new ways to reach out to people. He is tweeting and using the personal email on his website. “It’s the age of computers,” he said. “Everybody looks at social media to express their views.

This is not very different from the approaches adopted by other candidates. Rashad Al Bukhash in Dubai plans to launch advertisements in newspapers, launch his website, and push his Twitter and Facebook pages. Voters will receive emails and text messages.

VOTES

Estimates suggest that there are about 37,000 potential voters in Dubai alone. Therefore, the candidates need to reach a vast crowd.

“The NEC has organised several informative seminars for different sections of society,” Mr Lootah said and before campaigning candidates are expected to submit any media plans for approval.

Although it has been quite on the campaigning front so far, things should pick up, now that the campaigners will be receiving the green signal to get in touch with their potential voters. The voting will take place on Saturday, 24 Septemberand official results will be announced in the next four days.

Sources: Gulf News, The National

 

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