Electoral system in the UAE
This page provides detailed information about the electoral system in the UAE.
The elections of the Federal National Council
The first election of the Federal National Council (FNC) was held in 2006. The aim of the election is to increase the participation of the UAE nationals in the Parliament and activate their role as decision enablers through the membership in the Federal National Council, referred to as the fourth federal authority.
The objective of the FNC membership is to represent the people of the UAE as a whole; not only the emirate that the member represents. It also aims to boost national loyalty and public interest in the national affairs.
Number of members in the Federal National Council
The FNC comprises 40 members apportioned amongst the UAE's seven emirates as indicated in the graph below:
No. of seats
Umm Al Quwain
Ras Al Khaimah
One-half of FNC members is elected to serve a four-year term; while, the other half comprises officials appointed by the rulers' courts in the respective seven emirates.
Duties of the FNC
The FNC handles:
- Advisory tasks such as: discussing constitution amendments and budgets, presenting views concerning international treaties and agreements
- Supervisory tasks such as: raising proposals and recommendations; deciding on the complaints filed by UAE citizens
The National Election Committee (NEC)
The National Election Committee is formed by a resolution made by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. It is commissioned to draw and supervise the election process, issue regulatory rules and determine the date of the elections.
The emirates' committees
The National Election Committee forms the committees in each emirate. They coordinate with the Election Management Committee regarding technical and administrative matters related to the election process in the respective emirate.
Electoral stations are identified by The National Election Committee (NEC) immediately after the announcement of the final list of candidates. (It might vary on the location of the emirates' committees in each emirate.)
Each emirate has its own electoral college consisting of a minimum of 300 multiples of their respective seats, in accordance with the Constitution, with members appointed by the ruler of each emirate. The right to vote is given for every citizen whose name is mentioned in the electoral college of his respective emirate.
Pursuant to the official Election Guide (PDF in Arabic), the voter casts his vote through the electronic voting system adopted in the polling stations. If counting is done manually, the Polling Station Committee will give a ballot to each voter who shall express his intent inside the election hall, then deposit the same in the ballot box in the presence of the head of the Polling Station Committee or one of its members.
The voter is named as a member of the electoral college. Voting is the right of each member of the electoral college and practiced by himself. Voters must bring the identity card issued by the Emirates Identity Authority to make his ballot.
Candidates are members of the electoral college and named in the electoral list issued by the emirate they represent. He has the right to run for the FNC elections in the emirate they belong to after meeting respective conditions.
Eligibility to run for FNC elections
Every citizen whose name is mentioned in the electoral college of his emirate has the right to run for elections based on the following eligibility conditions:
Must be a UAE citizen and residing permanently in the emirate which represents the Council
Aged 25 years and above, i.e. born on the 2 October 1990 or before
Enjoys civil capacity; is of good character and reputation; has not been convicted for any offence unless has been rehabilitated in accordance with the law
Must be literate
Federal National Council elections for 2015
The FNC elections for the year 2015 started in September at UAE embassies abroad followed- for the first time- by the introduction of early voting system, until the election day that took place in 3 October 2015.
Features of the Federal National Council elections for 2015
- The electoral college grew to 224,279 voters, i.e. half the number of eligible voters, with women representing 48 per cent of total voters
- Participation of 79,157 voters; an increase in voters' turnout to 35.29 per cent
- A total of 330 candidates, including 74 women, from across the emirates contested the elections
- Total number of voters included 48,330 men and 30,827 women
- Participation of the elderly; as using the electronic voting system has not been a challenge for them anymore
- Increase in the number of polling stations across the country to 36, with adequate facilities to enable the voters to exercise their electoral right smoothly
- Introduction of early voting for three days during which 37,663 voters cast their votes. Voting was also held outside the UAE in 94 polling centres in the UAE diplomatic missions in most countries
- Election of 20 candidates, representing half the members of the Federal National Council
- One appeal received from one of the candidates in Dubai against the validity of the preliminary results; NEC rejected the appeal due to lack of strong evidence
- Adoption of the final list of the winners of the Federal National Council elections on 11 October 2015 as following:
- Emirate of Abu Dhabi: Khalifa Suhail Al Mazrouei, Mattar bin Omaira Al Shamsi, Saeed Saleh Al Rumaithi and Saleh Mubarak bin Othaith Al Ameri
- Emirate of Dubai: Hamad Ahmed Al Rahoumi Al Muhairi, Marwan Ahmed bin Ghalita Al Muhairi, Khalid Ahmed Ali bin Zayed Al Falasi and Jamal Mohammed Mattar Al Jai
- Emirate of Sharjah: Jassim Abdullah Al Naqbi, Salem Obaid Al Shamsi and Mohammed Ali Saif Al Ketbi
- Emirate of Ajman: Hamad Abdullah Saeed Abdullah Ghalita Al Ghafli and Salem Abdullah Hamad Rashid Al Shamsi
- Emirate of Umm Al Quwain: Khalfan Abdullah Salem Humaid Al Ali and Obaid Hassan Humaid bin Rakad Al Ali
- Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah: Salem Ali Ahmed Ali Al Shehhi, Ahmed Yousef Mohammed Al Nuaimi and Naema Abdullah Saeed Al Sharhan
- Emirate of Fujairah: Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al Yamahi and Ahmed Mohammed Mubarak Abdullah Al Hammodi
Federal National Council elections for 2011
The FNC elections, which took place on 24 September 2011, is the third and one of the important stages in the political empowerment programme in the UAE. It has seen a substantial increase in participation of citizens in the process of choosing their representatives in the Federal National Council.
Features of the Federal National Council elections for 2011
- The total number of candidates was 469 including 85 women. 19 candidates (men and women) withdrew their nominations.
- Voters included 54 per cent men, and 46 per cent women in each emirate
- Use of social media network by candidates for campaigns and interacting with voters
- Adoption of the electronic voting system in 13 polling stations across the UAE
- Increase in the minimum number of the electoral colleges' members to be as 300 multiplies of their respective seats, with no maximum limit for that number.
- Electoral colleges' members grew to 135,308 voters
Federal National Council elections for 2006
The first elections of Federal National Council were held in December 2006 by virtue of the Resolution No (3) 2006, issued by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE in accordance with the Resolution of the Supreme Council No. (4) 2006, which identified the method of selecting the representatives of the emirates in the Federal National Council.
The size of the UAE's electoral college was 6595 members nationwide, and the candidates for FNC elections were 456.
The elections campaigns tackled community concerns such as the national identity, employment opportunities and resettlement, education, health, women and children rights, housing and improving the living conditions of the UAE nationals.
Elections were conducted via eVoting machines. Computer technologies were used to register and store candidates' and voters' data and verify their identities.
Emirati women have earned strong presence in 2006 FNC elections and occupied 22.2 per cent of the total seats. For the first time, one woman was elected and eight were appointed by the rulers of the emirates. This is one of the highest rates of women representation in parliaments worldwide.