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UAE Pressed to Implement Democracy

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TEHRAN, March 9 (ICANA) – Some 160 UAE activists have endorsed a petition calling on the government to implement sweeping political reforms in the seven-emirate federation.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011 11:11:57 PM
UAE Pressed to Implement Democracy

The campaigners, who included many academics and former lawmakers, urged “comprehensive reform of the Federal National Council (FNC), or parliament,” Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The changes should enable “free elections by all citizens in the method of universal suffrage.”

The first general elections were attended by less than one percent of the Emiratis, who were only allowed to appoint half of the FNC.

The parliament also lacks legislative or regulatory powers and is only trusted to offer its opinion in Abu Dhabi's affairs.

“The group demands reform of legislation governing the work of parliament to include legislative and monitoring authorities and calls for necessary constitutional amendments to ensure this,” the petitioners said.

The call coincides with popular anti-government protests in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

“This is about people's right to participate in their society,” said Ahmed Mansour, a blogger and activist who helped organize the petition.

“We thought unrest in the region would make them (UAE leaders) reconsider but instead they are moving ahead with this quasi-election mechanism they put together,” he said.

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