02 December 2005

Democracy UAE Style

The United Arab Emirates is going to elect half of a council with only an advisory role, from an electorate of only 2000 people out of a population of 2.4 million people, give or take. Thus, less than 0.1% of the population is eligible to vote, and their votes are themselves basically meaningless, because the executive branch choses half the advisory council and can choose to ignore the advisory council entirely if it wishes.

In a step toward its first political reforms, the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday it will hold the first elections for its consultative council since the nation was founded in 1971.

The elections are for only half of the Federal National Council, the country's president said Thursday. . . .

The Federal National Council consists mainly of 40 members distributed among the seven emirates: eight for Abu Dhabi, eight for Dubai, six for Sharjah, six for Ras Al Khaima, four for Ajman, four for Um aL Qiwin, and four for Fujaira.

One UAE official said the number of voters might be limited to 2,000[.]

The sad part is that this is actually one of the more democratic proposals in all of the Arab world. Saudi Arabia has held only municipal elections, and has not even held those everywhere.

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