United Arab Emirates federation president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Saturday that women will account for half of the country's semi-elected advisory body after it is renewed in 2019, according to Reuters


The move will increase the number of women on the UAE Federal National Council from nine to 20 next year on the 40-person panel, the outlet reported. The council debates public issues, including bills and government budgets, but does not have the power to form or dismiss Cabinets or ministers.

The council is currently chaired by a woman, Amal al-Qubaisi. Twenty members are elected to four-year terms while anther 20 are appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates that make up the federation. 

The last vote to elect council members was in 2015.

-- Updated 11:47 a.m.