Emiratis petition ruler for democratic elections

DUBAI) - United Arab Emirates intellectuals petitioned their ruler on Wednesday for free and democratic elections, in a sign some Emiratis share growing Arab demands for a greater say in government.
But there was no indication of a move toward street protests in the seven-emirate federation, whose oil wealth and rapid development have boosted the standard of living and have buffered its government from widespread political dissent.
"The (petition) group calls for comprehensive reform of the Federal National Council (FNC), or parliament, including demands for free elections by all citizens in the method of universal suffrage," a statement from the petitioners said.
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