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Khalifa: FNC polls are the start of democratic process

posted on 21/11/2006: 845 views



President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE has begun laying the foundations of a democratic process with elections to elect half the members of the Federal National Council being held in December.

In an interview with London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat, Shaikh Khalifa said he does not consider these elections as the sole element of a democratic system, but a part of a package of democratic practices.

The UAE is on the threshold of a new era called "empowerment" as polls to elect half the members will lead to a full election.

Shaikh Khalifa also announced plans to gradually replace expatriate workers with Emaratis to tackle the demographic imbalance.

Commenting on human rights reports on foreign labour he said they are extremely exaggerated and based on inaccuracies and misconceptions. He said expats are not classified as immigrant workers, but they are a temporary workforce.

Constant review

Shaikh Khalifa made it clear that all organisations in the UAE were currently being subjected to a comprehensive review of their philosophies, goals, laws and means. Referring to education, Shaikh Khalifa said radical changes have been introduced to create and develop a system that meets the needs of the day.

On Iran's nuclear programme, the President said the GCC states have received assurances that it is designed for peaceful purposes, and that it complies with safety standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said the UAE is one of the most advanced countries in the Middle East, which would not be possible without a strong economy. Emirates News Agency (WAM)

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