Users on social media urged candidates to focus on pressing issues such as job creation and rising divorce rates
A female candidate in this year’s Federal National Council (FNC) elections has received a mixed response on social media platform for encouraging polygamy among Emirati men as a solution to “spinsterhood”.
Election posters featuring Sharjah candidate Khawlah Al Ali’s picture appeared across the emirate with the slogan: “For a spinsterhood-free society, say yes to polygamy”.
However a large number of users on Twitter criticised her campaign, with one user stating, “Can someone please explain to this lady that a lot of us are happily single by choice! Seeing this moved me backwards in time. The word [spinster] needs to diminished, period.”
Another user wrote, “I am from Sharjah and honestly [shocked]. I thought this mentality was extinct”.
Some on the social platform supported Al Ali’s campaign, with one tweeting, “The most honest and realistic electoral promise. I am hands down one of the first voters,” while another one said, “Give her my vote. You want women to work but you don’t want them to get married?”
Other users urged candidates to focus on pressing issues such as job creation and rising divorce rates.
A 2017 report by the Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre (ADSC) showed that with number of registered divorces rose to 1,859 in 2017, an annual increase of 4.6 percent since 1975, with over 50 percent of marriages among Emirati not completing their third year.
One Twitter user said, “We should focus on more important issues like creating new job opportunities and developing mechanisms to support low-income individuals, for example”, while another tweeted, “We don’t need to end spinsterhood as much as we need to understand the important of marriage and focus on greater issues such as the reasons behind the rise in divorce rates recently, which include irrational reasons, why lead us to our question, how to maintain a successful marriage?”
Al Ali is one of 495 final candidates running for the elections in October.
The 33-year-old, who works at the Sharjah Public Library and is single, told The National newspaper that polygamy is “easily” the solution to marital problems, adding that if she were married, she would assist her husband in finding him a second wife.
Last year, in a bid to deter Emirati nationals from marrying foreigners, the FNC council drafted a proposal to extend financial support to men who take second Emirati wives.
While Islam allows polygamy, it is not encouraged and can only be practiced under certain circumstances and restrictions.
It is not the first time an FNC candidate promotes polygamy. In 2015, Sultan Ali Al Nadeeb from Ras Al Khaimah, also promoted polygamy in the running to join the council, however he did not win.