Newspaper Review: Registration closes for UAE poll candidates

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FNC poll registration ends as women, young persons dash to get registered as candidates

Today’s front pages of leading Emirati newspapers are dominated by the electoral activity as registration process came to an end on Wednesday.

Gulf News published the photograph of four smiling female candidates with nomination papers in their hands. The newspaper added that UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and FNC Affairs welcomed the participation of women in the national elections and termed it a ‘positive indication’.

Khaleej Times also gave coverage to the women and youth candidates, stressing that equal opportunities were provided to help people from all walks of life to participate in the landmark UAE elections.

The National provided a list of candidates released by the National Election Committee (NEC) that shows 121 persons filed their papers in Abu Dhabi, 125 in Dubai, 97 in Sharjah, 60 in Ras Al Khaimah, 34 in Ajman, 19 in Umm Al Quwain and 21 in Fujairah. The paper also added that a high percentage of youth, both men and women, are participating in historic polls.

Bad news for parents as Abu Dhabi schools hike fees

Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, reported that forty private schools in the capital have been given the permission to raise their fees despite displeasure by the parents. The proposed increases ranged between a modest 5 to a whopping 371 per cent. The National quoted a government official’s warning that any school raising the fees without permission will be slapped hefty penalties.

Khaleej Times noted that Abu Dhabi Education Council approved 20 per cent increase last year. It also gave details of a recent survey carried out by the paper in which 18 schools following the Ministry of Education curriculum, 19 of the American or British, 14 of the Asian curricula and nine schools following other international curriculum, including the International Baccalaureate, applied for a hike in fees.

Meanwhile, Gulf News featured the views of parents who are already alarmed about the tight job situation and increasing living costs. The paper also noted that there will be no fee increase in the new academic year (2011-12) in Dubai.

First step towards reform for Jordan

The National welcomed the new measures King Abdullah II has recently announced and has described him as a capable economic moderniser, who faces a test of his attempt to manage political reform. The paper notes that the proposed changes will take the powers of crown postponing elections; voting overseen by an independent commission; parliament and not the king choosing a prime minister; parliament acquiring the power to approve or reject treaties; torture would be banned and freedom of speech strengthened.

Khaleej Times struck a similar tone in its 16th August editorial declaring the reform plan presented before King Abdullah of Jordan as a sign of political maturity by the Hashemite Monarch. The Dubai daily, however, shared its concern that any new changes undergo transition in as stable an environment as possible.

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