'We are voting for the future'.
Summary: A voter from Sharjah, Rashid Jassim Khalaf, who is wheelchair-bound and 83 years old, insisted on casting his vote early on election day.
If you ask Federal National Council (FNC) voters what motivates them to vote, the most common responses would range from it is 'a national duty', 'an honour' and 'a step towards a brighter future'.
"It is my duty and I am so happy to be part of the future."
Though Khalaf was a first time voter, he said the voting process was simple. "The procedures are clear and the staff were very friendly and gave me a helpful presentation."
In Ajman, 53-year-old Mohammed Yusuf Al Awadi was the first to vote at the Ministry of Social Affairs. "I voted for Yusuf Al Ajmani, as I believe he is best suited for the job. He is well-known for his charitable activities."
Emiratis have been politically empowered by the UAE's prudent leadership, he said. "I wanted to be the first to answer the call of duty and show my commitment to my country and leaders."
Brigadier Saleh Saeed Al Matrushi, director-general of the Ajman Civil Defence, said he has participated in all the FNC elections. "We are privileged to have this political right given to us by the government.
"It is the responsibility of an FNC candidate to speak for us in the council, and give voice to our problems and needs. The right member must follow up and participate in the process of law-making and building the country," he said.
Another voter, 49-year-old Jaber Nasser Humaid, said he wanted to see more youths in the FNC. "I encourage new and innovative youths who can better serve the country and actively work for a brighter future," he said.
Ali Mohamed Al Shehi, 50, said: "The successful FNC candidate must have an excellent programme, and be an active member, and voice our concerns."
Women flock voting centres
Hind Humaid bin Hindi, a 24-year-old student of law at the Ajman University, was the first female voter at the Ajman polling centre. "This is the first time I am voting in the FNC elections and I am excited about it."
She told Khaleej Times she is against voting for relatives and tribesmen. "I have not voted for my relative because I find another one more qualified to represent me in the FNC."
Saleha Sultan, an executive with a charity society in Dubai, said she came to vote for her brother, Yusuf Sultan. "It is not about family bonds. He is qualified for the job and is well-known for helping people here."
Maitha Saleh Al Balochi, a 22-year-old student at the Higher Colleges of Technology, said: "I am here to support my beloved country, practise my electoral right, and vote for FNC hopeful Hamad bin Ghalita, who is well-known for his charitable activities in Ajman."
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