ABU DHABI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on Wednesday inaugurated the 16th legislative term of the Federal National Council.
The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai attended the opening ceremony, walking the red carpet under the swords of the Presidential Guard while a marching band played the national anthem.
He then met FNC officials before entering the Sheikh Zayed Hall to greet the Rulers awaiting him.
After verses of the Quran had been recited, the new term was convened.
In his address, Sheikh Mohammed stressed to members the importance in serving citizens during the turbulent times the region is facing.
“It is your role today, amid the strenuous circumstances that is passing by our region,” he said.
It was, therefore, essential to have unity between citizens and their Rulers and for the Government to serve its people, he said.
“Today your service to the UAE people has become a responsibility,” he said. “It is an obligation in front of Allah and the people of the UAE.
“Brothers and sisters, your council is held today and our country has become stronger and our people more intertwined with their leaders.”
FNC member Majid Al Shamsi then gave the council’s speech to the audience.
Members took their places under the blue dome of the council, awaiting their new roles. Ambassadors from 80 countries were also among the attendees.
Before bidding farewell to Sheikh Mohammed, FNC members were invited to meet, greet and take a picture with the Rulers.
Members then began to take their oath of office, saying: “I swear to be loyal to the UAE, to respect the federal constitution and its laws and to do my duties in the council and its committees with all honesty and sincerity.”
After this, the election of posts began.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi was appointed as chairwoman and Speaker, making her the first woman to hold the role.
Abdulaziz Al Zaabi, the member for Ras Al Khaimah, was appointed the second Deputy Speaker after securing 21 votes from the chamber. Marwan bin Ghalita was appointed Speaker’s first Deputy, edging out his only competitor for the position, Jamal Al Hay, by 21 votes to 16.
Two of the 39 members voting presented blank papers, meaning they did not wish to vote, and were not counted.
In his address to convince members to vote for him, Mr bin Ghalita, who was also elected in the last term, reminded the council of his accomplishments in the past four years.
“My first suggestion was regarding the Schengen visa [exemption] for UAE nationals, and Sheikh Abdullah [the Foreign Minister) accepted the issue and it worked out.”
He also discussed the issues surrounding the children of Emitati women.
“Also the issue of the routine check ups for nationals, and the Ministry of Health is up for it.”
“Today I nominate myself to bring more success and accomplishments to the council,” he said ahead of his appointment.
Autores: Ayesha Al Khoori and Haneen Dajani