Newspaper review: Papers analyse low FNC turnout; Saudi women suffrage hailed

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UAE newspaper review

The surprisingly low turnout of 24 September FNC elections has got the newspapers talking.

Gulf News’ reported that many observers blame the lack of electoral culture among a large segment of citizens. Limited mandate of the FNC, lack of publicity and short time for preparations are the other reasons cited for lacklustre interest in the elections.

The National, on the other hand, reported that FNC elections have entered the next stage where rulers of every emirate will appoint 20 members in total – four in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, three in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, and two each in Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ajman.


In a dramatic twist, 17 Indians sentenced to death for killed a Pakistan man, were barred from leaving the country and sent back to Sharjah Central Jail.

Khaleej Times reports that two injured victims filed a civil damages suit against the 17 people who attacked them. Their lawyer insisted he will demand AED1.5 million as compensation for the multiple injuries his clients sustained in a brawl over bootleg liquor.

Gulf News quoting an Indian businessman saying the convicted Indian prisoners were set to return back home on Saturday night before getting re-arrested.


Emirati newspapers responded warmly to the new concessions for women announced by the Saudi monarch.

The National said Saudi king gives women vote in 2015 municipal elections while also pledging to give the fair sex a representation on Shura Council. The paper added that the right to vote is by far the biggest change introduced by the reform-minded King Abdullah.

Khaleej Times carried a similar article while including welcome statements from Saudi women rights activist, intellectuals and US Department of State officials.

Gulf News published excerpts of Saudi King’s speech delivered to the Shura Council in which he made clear that “the Muslim woman must not be marginalised in opinion or advice”.


Khaleej Times highlighted the bright side of the FNC election in its today’s editorial. The most heartening of the development, the editor insists, is the involvement of women in the process and their remarkable sense of awareness. The highly optimistic article appreciated the 450 candidates who tried to reach the grassroots of their country through their campaign. “The bridge between the people and their leaders has been further strengthened and this exercise in franchise has been a major success. Down the road it will be the foundation for an even wider participation,” the editor concluded.

The National declared Saudi King Abdullah’s announcement as ‘a milestone for political rights of Saudi women’. The septuagenarian monarch surprised his people during the Saudi National Day speech that promised women the right to vote and stand in local elections. The development in neighbouring Saudi Arabia comes just a day after the UAE’s FNC elections, ‘a further indication of the political change in the region’, the article noted.

‘Russia stands to benefit from Putin’, Gulf News declared in its editorial on Monday. It added that both Dmitry Medvedev, the current President, and Vladimir Putin, the current prime minister, have held the reins of power in Russia, erroneously reporting “for close to two decades”. Putin came into power in 1999 while Medvedev assumed the office of First Deputy Prime Minister in 2005.

By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette

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