Emiratis head to the polls to elect half of the 40-seat Federal National Council

Elections for the UAE’s Federal National Council will be held today. While half of the Council’s 40 members are appointed

uae election

Photo: Jaime Puebla/The National

Elections for the UAE’s Federal National Council will be held today.

While half of the Council’s 40 members are appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates, Emirati voters elect the remaining 20. The Council is responsible for passing and rejecting legislation, but many members say the government has failed to implement its recommendations on healthcare, education and housing.

Since voters and candidates must be approved by the government, suffrage and democratic rights are highly restricted. However, 51% more Emiratis were approved to vote in this election cycle than in previous years.

The Emirati government has implemented effective economic policies in recent years, leading to improved quality of life indicators. Indeed, Emiratis enjoy the highest life expectancy for any Arab country and some of the best maternity care in the world. The UAE was even ranked as the 26th best country for business in 2017.

Given the high quality of life in the UAE, do not expect a strong push for political change. Regardless of the outcome of today’s elections, the monarchy will retain its tight grip on power.

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