The Ministry of State for Federal National Council, in its capacity as the Secretariat of the National Election Committee has hosted a virtual Election Observers Forum  to acquaint officials with the reports of electoral observers that relate to the performance of the electoral administration.

Held to contribute to enhancing active participation in the upcoming electoral elections and continue the march of successes in organising electoral processes according to the highest international standards, the webinar discussed with its participants electoral observer reports are used to further performance improvement. Taking place remotely and using visual communication technology, the forum had the aim of ensuring participants understood how the observers’ reports enhance electoral administration and why their  findings are discussed with specialised teams,

The forum witnessed the presence of His Excellency Tariq Hilal Lootah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for FNC Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Dr Saeed Al Ghafli, Assistant Undersecretary for Federal National Council Affairs, His Excellency Counsellor Zayed Saeed Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Association of Lawyers and Legal Counsel showcased his association , Wedad Ahmed Buhumaid, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Human Rights Association, in addition to a number of heads and deputies of the electoral centres, a delegation each from the Emirates Human Rights Association and the Emirates Association of Lawyers and Legal Counsel, and several specialised employees from the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs.

Among the issues under the spotlight at the forum were how the elections of the Federal National Council (FNC) 2019, witnessed a wide participation of observers, with 30 observers from the Emirates Association for lawyers and legal and the Emirates Human Rights Association present in electoral centres on the days scheduled for voting. The observers were in place to monitor the progress of the voting and prevent potential irregularities from occurring.

His Excellency Tariq Hilal Lootah affirmed that, since the start of its first cycle in 2006, the FNC elections have been carried out according to the highest standards of accuracy, transparency and integrity and seek to implement and employ the best techniques that contribute to this goal. His Excellency said: "The efforts made by the authorities that are keen to follow up and monitor the electoral process are among the most important elements to enhance transparency in elections."

His Excellency added: "The outcomes of today's meeting will be placed at the forefront of priorities to be implemented and will  be a key pillar in the development of the electoral process. We are honoured to receive the support of the observers from these important civil organisatons and are keen to benefit from their in-depth knowledge and experience."

His Excellency affirmed that the 2019 FNC elections witnessed wide participation from civil society organisations in the UAE, which he said support the election process in the country and the nation’s political empowerment programme.

"Today's meeting saw  the participation of heads and deputies of election centres as part of the Ministry's efforts to get acquainted with the role of observers and to understand the importance of taking into account their opinions and recommendations, as it is this that contributes to the advancement of the electoral process," H.E. said.

His Excellency stated that the success of the FNC elections during previous cycles was the result of unlimited support from the wise leadership, which is keen to employ all capabilities and tools to enable the citizen to actively participate in the decision-making process, and it also comes from an accurate and in-depth reading of previous experiences to benefit from the positives and develop them. H.E said: "This approach contributed to achieving the best results and the distinctive organisation of the 2019 FNC elections, in a manner that lives up to the aspirations and ambitions of both the leadership and the people of the Emirates."

His Excellency thanked the election observers for their great efforts and for their high degree of readiness and coordination with the various committees and working teams of the 2019 FNC elections, indicating that these were effective in achieving a smooth, transparent and fair electoral experience. He also thanked them for sharing all their observations, which will he said will be acted on in the upcoming electoral rounds.

During the meeting, the report titled ‘Federal National Council Elections 2019’ was presented. During the process the important procedures and milestones in the electoral process were outlined and light was shed on the achievements made in the election, which was the fourth cycle of FNC elections.

His Excellency Counsellor Zayed Saeed Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Association of Lawyers and Legal Counsel, showcased his association, stressing the great cooperation of the National Elections Committee in requests for monitoring the electoral process, which he said confirmed the distinguished level in organising the FNC elections and the transparency and integrity they enjoy. He noted that no observations were recorded regarding the conduct of the electoral process, with the observations instead focused on aspects that contribute to improving the electoral process to better serve the Emirati community.

Wedad Ahmed Buhumaid, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Human Rights Association also presented a report on his association, stressing that the active participation of civil society institutions is a main pillar to reach an electoral process that is conducted according to the highest international standards, which the UAE aspires to.

She said: "Space was given to our teams to observe all procedures of the electoral process, which was characterised by integrity and transparency from the opening of the door for voting until the announcement of the results. None of our observation operations disturbed the conduct of the electoral process. We are delighted to continue our collaborative work with the electoral teams to reach successful and distinguished future parliamentary experiences that witness the active participation of the nation’s voters.”

During the meeting, all observations were discussed and a set of recommendations identified, with the lessons to be incorporated in the best manner to contribute to the further development of the UAE’s electoral process.

Source: Asda'a BCW