Election will pick half the members of its advisory national assembly, first vote held back in 2006
The UAE will hold the second election in its history in September to pick half the members of its advisory national assembly, the state news agency WAM said on Wednesday.
The move to set the election for September 24 comes as anti-government protests rock the Arab world, including the wealthy Gulf Arab region.
The world's No. 3 oil exporter last month tripled the number of voters handpicked by its rulers to take part in electing half of the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC), an advisory body with limited parliamentary powers, in a cautious step towards political reform in the Gulf state.
The announcement comes as Shi'ite protesters in nearby Bahrain demand a constitutional monarchy, with some hardliners calling for abolishing the monarchy to set up a republic.
Last week, a group of UAE intellectuals petitioned their rulers for free elections, in a sign some Emiratis share growing Arab demands for a greater say in government.
The first elections for the FNC were held in 2006 with 6,600 voters, including 1,160 women. The voters, who accounted for less than 1 percent of the population, were named by the rulers of the seven emirates that make up the UAE federation.
Unlike other Arab countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where decades of poverty and political repression left their populations clamouring for political and economic reforms, the UAE's mix of wealth and established ruling families has cushioned the oil-exporter and trading hub against unrest.
There has been no sign of street protests in the UAE. Bahrain's Shi'ite majority has staged the Gulf's most sustained protests, while Oman and Saudi Arabia have also witnessed some demonstrations.
From this article, I get the impression that there is a precise knowledge of " who is who" amongst the relatively small UAE national society and that "distinguished elders" are invited to vote on behalf of their collective families.
It would be interesting to know on what basis the 6,600 UAE voters were selected.
I think All people who received ID cards elegible for Vote
if its election as called.