UAE President Pledges Enhanced Political Participation
The president of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan promised greater political rights to citizens at the opening session of the country’s Federal National Council (FNC), a partially elected advisory assembly with few legislative powers. “Empowerment is the soul of the federation,” the president told members of the council, though no timetable for reform was given. “Your session today is a successful crowning of the second stage in our progress towards deepening the culture of (political) participation and enhancing its practice,” Al Nayhan added.
The president insisted that council members should not view their role as “a privilege or social relevance but an arduous responsibility,” calling the representatives to “commit yourselves to the interest of the nation and the interests of citizens.” Mohammad Ahmad Al Murr was elected speaker of the FNC, while Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi was nominated as the first deputy speaker of the UAE’s House, the first woman to hold the position.