Voting begins in the first ever UAE elections

Hand-selected voters went to the polls on Saturday to pick members of an government advisory panel in this oil-rich Gulf country's first-ever elections. About 60 percent of the 1,677 citizens chosen to vote in the capital, Abu Dhabi, casted ballots - picking a woman and three men for the Federal National Council, the advisory panel which is seen as an eventual precursor to a national parliament, the state-run news agency, WAM, reported. Eighty percent of the 418 people picked by government also voted in the eastern emirate of Fujeirah - choosing four men for the FNC, WAM said. The small number of voters were the first Emirati citizens to cast ballots since the United Arab Emirates' independence in 1971. Voters in Dubai and the other four emirates that make up the federal state will visit polls Monday and Wednesday.