President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the Presidential Resolution No. (1) of 2019 towards raising women’s representation in the Federal National Council (FNC) to 50 per cent with effect from the upcoming legislative cycle.
Issued in the run-up to the fourth cycle of FNC elections that are scheduled to take place in October 2019, the resolution modifies certain provisions of the Federal Supreme Council Resolution No. (4) of 2006 concerning the manner of electing the emirates’ representatives in the Federal National Council and its amendments.
The Presidential Resolution comprises three main articles. Article one states that women must account for no less than 50 per cent of the total representatives of each emirate in FNC. The resolution outlines the following rules for ensuring the stipulated number of women representatives: 1. The ruler of each emirate may determine the number of seats allocated for women when electing the emirate’s representatives in FNC.
2. This number shall not exceed half of the total number of elected representatives of the emirate.
3. The office of the ruler of each emirate will announce the number of seats allocated for women in the elections before opening the candidature.
4. Female candidates with the highest number of votes in each emirate shall win the allocated seats.
5. The ruler of the emirate can appoint women to fill the remaining seats allocated to female candidates to complete the required 50 per cent.
Article 2 of the resolution requires the inclusion of a representative of the National Media Council in the National Election Committee (NEC). Meanwhile, Article 3 stipulates that NEC shall issue all necessary regulations to implement the provisions of this resolution to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and its results.
Advancing Political Development and Women’s Empowerment This historic resolution marks a significant milestone on the UAE’s political development journey. It is also an important step within the Political Empowerment Programme that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced in 2005. Through a gradual approach,the programme seeks to boost citizen engagement in public life, enhance FNC’s role as a support entity of the executive branch, help the Council connect with people’s issues and concerns, and promote the principles of shura (consultation) and proactive participation.
The UAE’s parliamentary experience serves as a model for other modern parliaments around the world, especially in terms of women’s political empowerment.
FNC is renowned for playing a defining role in empowering Emirati women. During its 14th legislative term (2006-2011), women’s representation in the Council exceeded 22 per cent – the highest in Arab parliaments at the time, while a woman assumed the presidency of the parliament for the first time in the Arab world during the 16th legislative term (2015-2019)