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Majlis Watani Itihadi (Federal National Council)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Majlis Watani Itihadi / Federal National Council
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) (from/to)16 December 2006
20 December 2006
Purpose of elections First elections were held for one half of the seats (20) in Federal National Council.
In December 2005 the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nuhayyan announced the first ever parliamentary elections to the Federal National Council. Elections for half of the seats subsequently took place over three rounds in December 2006. Previously all 40 members of the Council were appointed for two-year terms by the rulers of the UAE's constituent states (emirates).

Only a tiny fraction of the country's population was eligible to vote in 2006. Of the approximately 825 000 UAE nationals - nearly 80 per cent of the country's estimated 4.2 million inhabitants are foreigners - 0.8 per cent (6 689 people including 1 189 women) were selected by the country's rulers as members of the Electoral College (see note). The elections were described by the government as the first part of a three phase process that would see all Emirati citizens electing half of the members of an expanded Federal National Council by 2010 if the 2006 elections were successful.

A total of 450 candidates including 65 women contested the elections. Since there are no political parties in the UAE all candidates ran as independents. Many candidates pledged to provide better health care housing and education. Some also promised to promote more interaction between UAE nationals and non-nationals while maintaining traditional and religious values.

Voting took place from 16 to 20 December and voter turnout ranged from just over 60 per cent in Abu Dhabi to more than 90 per cent in Fujairah. In Umm Al Quwain all female members of the Electoral College cast their ballots. Ms. Amal Abdullah Juma Karam Al Qubaisi a British-educated professor of architecture at the Emirates University won a seat in Abu Dhabi becoming the first woman member of the Federal National Council.

The National Elections Committee certified the final results of the three rounds on 25 December.

The newly elected members were sworn in on 12 February 2007 alongside the 20 appointed members. Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al-Ghurair was elected as the new Speaker of the Council.

The Electoral College included 1 759 citizens from Abu Dhabi 1 539 from Dubai 1 041 from Sharjah 441 from Ajman 407 from Umm Al Quwain 1084 from Ras Al Khaima and 418 from Fujeirah.
Voter turnout
Round no 1 (from/to)16 December 2006
20 December 2006
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Note on "Distribution of seats according to political group"
Not applicable: there are no political parties.

One woman was elected while eight others were appointed by the rulers of the constituent states (05.02.2007).

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