ABU DHABI, 6th July, 2023 (WAM) — The National Election Commission, NEC, has issued Resolution No. 25 of 2023 on the Regulations for the Implementation of the 2023 Federal National Council (FNC) Elections.
The Administrative Regulations constitute the legal framework governing the various stages and procedures of the electoral process, comprising nine chapters and 69 articles, which include the composition of the committee responsible for organizing the elections, electoral rules, the rights and duties of voters and candidates, electoral irregularities and related penalties, Procedures for electoral appeals and the counting and announcement of results.
Amendments to administrative regulations were made based on analysis and feedback from previous elections. The most notable feature is the introduction of the Remote Voting System, a smart system where voters can vote from anywhere, whether in the country or abroad, using a digital application launched by the National Election Commission.
Voters outside the UAE can vote remotely from the start of the early voting period until the main election day, and there will be no polling stations inside the embassy. NEC has also introduced a hybrid voting system that allows voters to choose between remote voting and electronic voting at specific polling stations.
The hybrid voting system is the latest and most efficient method of voting and will help make the electoral process more accurate and transparent. It uses digital methods to sort and count ballots, reflecting an effort to improve the electoral experience and encourage greater participation in the affairs of state by streamlining the entire process.
The electoral voting system has been updated to adapt to the digital transformation of the country, so that the necessary tasks can be completed more easily, efficiently, quickly and accurately, in line with the decisions of the UAE Cabinet on digital services policy, the implementation of the national framework to ensure information security, and in Adoption of the Emirates Pass digital identity system in all government transactions.
The UAE Pass is the key to this major e-transformation and access to the voting system, and NEC members are required to register on the platform.
Administrative regulations were also amended to increase the candidate registration fee from Dh1,000 to Dh3,000. The candidacy process for the determined is also regulated, and eligible disabled voters can apply for FNC membership if they provide a medical report from the Supreme Council for Medical Liability of the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The report shall describe the type and extent of the disability and how it affects the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of FNC membership.
As part of the amendments, the cap on campaign spending was raised to Dh3 million and the maximum fine for electoral irregularities was increased to Dh10,000.
These Implementation Rules have nine chapters in total. The first chapter formulates voting rules, stipulating that each voter can only vote once, and can only vote for one candidate from the emirate. They can vote online or in person, but they cannot vote on behalf of others or change their vote later. Their last vote will stand.