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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 08:41 GMT
Second stage starts in UAE polls
Dubai
Only 1% of citizens get the vote, and candidates are selected by the authorities
Voting has begun in the second stage of landmark national elections in the United Arab Emirates, in which under 1% of citizens are allowed to vote.

Voters hand-picked by the government are choosing half of the Federal National Council, an advisory body.

On Monday, the polls are being held in Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah. The remaining three emirates vote on Wednesday.

On Saturday, six council members, including a woman, were elected in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah.

"This is an honour I will carry... all my life. It is proof that the Emirati people are [politically] aware," Amal Abdullah al-Kubaissi, who won one of the four seats in Abu Dhabi, told the AFP news agency.

The candidates standing for election were also hand-picked by the Emirati government.

However, ministers have said the vote is the start of a wider process that will see participation extended.

The BBC's Julia Wheeler, in Dubai, says it is also expected that the powers of the assembly will change, with the first council debating a new constitution.

VOTING DATES AND LOCATIONS
Saturday 16th - Abu Dhabi, Fujairah
Monday 18th - Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah
Wednesday 20th - Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quaint

On Monday, voters are electing four council members in Dubai and three in Ras al-Khaimah.

The voters across the UAE, who number fewer than 7,000 men and women, have been selected by the rulers of the seven emirates which make up the country.

The UAE is the last of the Gulf Arab monarchies to introduce elections.


SEE ALSO
Back to roots for the UAE's birthday
02 Dec 06 |  Middle East
UAE urged to stop 'worker abuse'
12 Nov 06 |  Middle East
UAE announces employment reforms
25 Jun 06 |  Middle East
UAE head announces first election
01 Dec 05 |  Middle East
Country profile: United Arab Emirates
13 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: United Arab Emirates
13 Nov 06 |  Country profiles

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