Today is an important day in the political history of the United Arab Emirates as around 130,000 Emiratis, 30 per cent of the population, will visit 13 polling stations across the country to cast their votes for 20 Federal National Council candidates. The total FNC seats are distributed among the seven emirates with Abu Dhabi and Dubai having eight seats each; Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah having six each; and Ajman, Umm Al Quwian and Fujairah having four seats each.
Gulf News’ front page lead says “Every vote counts” while publishing a photograph of the FNC chamber. The National published a large photo of volunteers going through last minute preparations at one of the polling stations in Dubai for the FNC election on Saturday. Khaleej Times has also published some interesting facts about the 2011 FNC elections including women’s participation in the electoral college and the break up of population under the age of 30 in the seven emirates.
PALESTINE STATEHOOD BID
UAE newspapers have given prominence to the developments taking place at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly where Palestine applied for inclusion as a full member.
Khaleej Times says ‘Abbas makes history at UN’ while publishing his photograph in which he is holding up the membership application.
“Palestine is being reborn” Gulf News quotes Abbas as saying while adding: “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership in the United Nations and our admission as an independent state.”
The National’s foreign correspondent reports joy, ecstasy and emotional moments in Occupied West Bank cities where thousands of Palestinians gathered in public places to listen to President Mahmoud Abbas’ UN speech.
SALEH RETURNS SPIKES YEMEN STRIFE
Gulf News’ Yemen correspondent says The White House has urged Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to begin a full transfer of power, hours after he returned from Saudi Arabia amid violence and bloodshed.
Both The National and Khaleej Times also reported the surprise return of the deeply unpopular Yemeni leader who was in Riyadh for the last three months recovering from severe wounds he suffered during an attack on his compound. His arrival was greeted by his supporters who attacked an opposition camp and killed at least a dozen people.
Khaleej Times has published an interesting report which quotes a top finance official as saying that Dubai has completed the ?major bulk? of its debt restructuring and is comfortable in its ability to tap bond markets when it deems it necessary. The official also admits the emirate took things for granted in the beginning but has now learnt its lessons.
The paper, basing its sources in Dow Jones and Bloomberg, reported the rating boost UAE has recently received with Fitch Ratings affirming Abu Dhabi?s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings at ?AA? with a Stable Outlook. The agency also affirmed Abu Dhabi?s Short-term foreign currency IDR at ?F1+?. The UAE Country Ceiling is affirmed at ?AA+?.
Gulf News’ editorial says voters have to make their voices heard today by taking part in the FNC elections and casting every single vote to determine the future of the FNC. The editor warns that such a perspective should not be undermined or taken lightly as the FNC process is part of a long term process that will enhance its role in decision-making.
Khaleej Times says the returning of Saleh to Yemen rings ominous bells as violence has skyrocketed in the recent days. The paper blamed, what it calls Saleh’s obduracy and refusal to cede ground,? as an obstacle for a peaceful political transition and exacerbated the already volatile situation. The Dubai-based daily also reminded that Yemen’s geo-strategic position in the world’s largest oil reserves’ region is a matter of concern given the threats to economic assets of the Gulf monarchies.
By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette