Wednesday, February 09, 2011

UAE inching towards more representative government

Members of the Federal National Council are seeking legislative powers for the council.

The National:
The 40-member FNC currently has the authority to debate and amend laws, question ministers and discuss the annual federal budget, but not to initiate legislation. Half of the FNC’s members are appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates, while the other half are chosen by an electoral college of nearly 6,700 Emiratis, who are chosen by the rulers.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for FNC Affairs, highlighted the fact that this FNC was a historic one, being the first to experience elections and to have its term extended to four years.
Some FNC members have a broad range of proposals for reform of the council. These include an expansion of the electoral base that elects half the members in order to enfranchise more Emiratis, and having more representatives.

Other proposals include granting the council broader oversight powers in order to hold government bodies accountable and, somewhere down the line, the power to initiate legislation.
Gulf News:
Sultan Saqr Al Suwaidi, a member from Dubai, said the House must have more powers to scrutinise the Government and take part in the decision making process and not just submit recommendations, which may or may not be implemented. "It is high time to move on to a full-fledged legislature and take proper decisions to boost political participation and help the FNC to play its role in supporting social, economic and political development," Al Suwaidi said.

He added political participation is a popular demand and the ceiling [of political life] has to be raised.
Political liberalisation in the UAE received a boost with the first elections to the country's legislature in December 2006. The elections, however, presented only a small step in terms of political development as only about 6,600 Emiratis were able to cast their vote.

Going all the way to "full legislative powers and universal suffrage", Dr Abdul Rahim Al Shahin, a Ras Al Khaimah representative told Gulf News he aspires for full legislative powers for the House and universal sufferage for Emiratis to help the House meet expectations heaped upon it. "It is not logical to allow hand-picked group of citizens to vote and deprive others from their rights," he said.
Note that the rulers of Abu Dhabi have ownership in The National, and the rulers of Dubai have ownership in The Gulf News.

There's no mention of popular election of rulers.

Do the citizenry want a more representative government? There is great income inequality in the UAE, but the economic well-being UAE citizens is much better than those in Saudi Arabia, and certainly Egypt. The country's wealth is shared with the citizenry. I'm not sure the attitude isn't leave well enough alone. That's not a recommendation wrapped in a conjecture. I'd like to see the UAE become a democracy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UAE becoming a democracy in the form of what you call a democracy, a western styled one, will BE DOOMED. And it isnt what the average Emarati wants.

However, a poll by the National a year or so ago showed that 70% of Emaratis DO want the FNC to be elected AND be given legislative powers.

That in and of it's self is the extent that any Emarati asks for in terms of democracy.

To a westerner, it may seem like a very little, but to us, it's alot, and all we want.

As for YOU wanting to see the UAE as a "democracy." I'm sorry to remind you that it ISNT UP TO YOU.

And thats the problem isnt it, anti democracy ppl shoving their ideas in our faces, pro democracy ppl doing the same.

How about we just get what we want? If anything else is wanted by laer generations that that is their business.

Also please note that if the UAE were a western style democracy, you would probably be deported in a heartbeat. Much like how it is in the west's best interest for the region not to be a democracy.

Fact is that the democratic west only wishes democracy on a place AS LONG AS it doesnt disrupt THEIR needs, the citizen's needs be damned.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon UAE is in calm waters , and the Western World will never permit any genuine progress . Hence tirade of attacks on Dubai when the economy was booming in 2006-2009. Do you recall Bush and Condoleeza Rice proclaiming the Mideast was in the pangs of a birth in 2007 , when their inteniton was only to pacify and subdue the region

4:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

Pretty helpful info, much thanks for the article.

2:23 PM  

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