The UAE’s ruling system on Sunday launched a phase of voting outside the country in the Federal National Council elections, the strangest parliamentary elections in the world.
The system itself defines a limited number of people eligible to run and vote for the election of 20 members of the Federal Council, an advisory body without authority. The system appoints another 20 members of the Council.
The embassies and consulates of the UAE have begun to receive members of electoral bodies outside the country to cast their votes, which will continue for three days.
The regime did not announce the number of eligible voters abroad, but the number is very limited given that the total eligible to participate in the electoral process and their number is limited to only 337 thousand and 738 members of the population of the state.
The lists of electoral bodies received by the committee are from the offices of the rulers of the seven emirates.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi will have 101,549 shares in the list, 60,772 members in Dubai, 64,293 in Sharjah, 10,165 in Ajman, 6,653 in Umm Al Quwain, 55,289 in Ras Al Khaimah and 39,017 in Fujairah.
These numbers of citizens will be the only ones allowed to stand for election and vote at the same time. No Emirati who is not on the lists will have the right to stand for election.
Since the first elections in 2006, the executive authority has controlled this council in such a way as to ensure the arrival of “loyalists”.
The voting phase began after a faint propaganda for the formal elections scheduled for the National Council, which turned the UAE system into a paralyzed body without any powers.
Electoral campaigning lasted 27 days for National Council candidates, while UAE newspapers went so far as to call for candidates not to exceed the ceiling.
This comes in light of the severe restrictions imposed by the UAE regime on freedom of opinion and expression in the state and a comprehensive ban from participating in decision-making and solving political, economic and security problems in the country.
During the election campaign, the withdrawal of a candidate for the Federal National Council elections in the UAE was a scandal of the high caliber of the ruling regime, which prohibits any handling of political affairs.
The candidate Ghaith Abdullah announced his withdrawal from the FNC elections scheduled for next month due to restrictions imposed on him to adopt the call to develop the Council with legislative powers and raise the ceiling of freedom of expression and constructive criticism in the state.
In a post on his Twitter account, he criticized the lack of the right to discuss policy issues. This comes at a time when the electoral programs in the UAE elections are limited to life issues with superficial qualities, including the pledge of a candidate to promote polygamy in order to fight spinsterhood.
The FNC is merely an advisory body with no effective powers in the country, with half of its members appointed by government decisions, making it a body that expresses authority.
The UAE ranks 147 out of 167 in the list of authoritarian countries in the world according to the index of international democracy, and has obtained in the criterion of “electoral process and pluralism” zero out of 10, and in political participation to 2.2 out of 10.
The UAE deprives its citizens of participation in political, administrative and service decision-making and practices arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance of dissidents, bloggers and human rights activists.