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President to unveil reform plan in months

posted on 15/11/2005: 683 views

A major declaration on political reforms in the UAE is expected to be announced by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan "within months", it has been revealed. General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has confirmed there is a reform plan, the details of which will be announced by Sheikh Khalifa.

"I can confirm that within months, a major declaration will be made on this issue," he told the Oxford Business Group special report, Emerging Abu Dhabi 2006, which was made public on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammad did not elaborate but said the UAE is today an example to the region. "Right now, the UAE is economically powerful. Perhaps more importantly, security in the country is something we can be proud of. And from security, the rest will follow."

A highly placed source confirmed to Gulf News that work was going on at the topmost levels on the planned reforms. "Women will be able to elect, and be elected to, government positions. There will be a complete change in the political scenario next year. Top officials are already working on this project," the source said.

UAE analysts welcomed the statement as an encouraging step towards the awaited reforms. "The country deserves a roadmap of reforms to catch up with what is going on around us," said Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, professor of political science at UAE University.

He said the UAE should have been in the lead with regard to political reforms. "Now, a leading figure like Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has made it clear that the leadership has in fact a plan which we expect will live up to the high expectations of the people". Sheikh Mohammad's statement comes as the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADDCI) prepares to hold its first ever board polls on December 5.

According to an Abu Dhabi Emiri decree issued last month, the board will have six members, including two women, appointed by the Ruler. The remaining 15 members, including two expatriates, will be elected. (The Gulf News)


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