Empowering the Federal National Council
- 13 February 2014
The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) yesterday celebrated its 42nd anniversary as a federal authority. The FNC has played a leading role in strengthening the UAE’s federation experience and has provided ideas to push the country’s march toward progress. Since the establishment of the Federation in 1972, the UAE’s wise leadership has extended firm support to the FNC and had encouraged it to play a role in serving the nation’s interest at domestic and foreign levels and represent the nation’s aspirations.
This UAE’s wise leadership has left no stone unturned in enabling the FNC to function properly in the best possible manner. This fact was highlighted by none other than President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him) during his speech on the occasion of the UAE’s 43rd National Day in 2005. “The next phase of our nation’s progress requires a bigger and more effective FNC role on national cause and issues of public concern and their inclusion in the consultative process,” he said.
Since 2005, the process of empowerment through the FNC has gone on steadily and an appropriate environment has been built to exercise legislation and regulation. The most crucial steps include selection of 50 percent of FNC members through election in 2006, the constitutional amendments expanding FNC’s authority, and the 2011 legislative elections, which marked a quantum leap in popular participation in the political process. The number of Electoral College members this year became at least 300 times the number of FNC seats, compared to 100 times during the 2006 elections.
This indicates that the UAE’s wise leadership firmly believes in expanding popular participation. This was highlighted by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan while opening the third regular session of the 14th FNC legislative chapter in November 2013. The speech – which was delivered on his behalf by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – highlighted the need for all citizens to share responsibilities in building a modern country.
The development of FNC over the years mirrors the UAE leadership’s developed perspective vis-à-vis political empowerment, which is based on several important principles. It has been a calculated and step-by-step program to maintain stability, development and progress in the country. The leadership has energized the FNC to play an effective role in achieving the nation’s goals at all levels and has ensured public participation in community development. It has helped secure cultural and religious identity of the community and has worked for its future. This perspective has extended immense support for FNC and has prompted members of the community to play a positive role in an objective manner.