Muscat: Four women, Al Shaima bint Ali bin Ibrahim bin Shonoon Al Raisi, Sana'a bint Hilal bin Salim Al Mashariyah, Fatima bint Nassir bin Said Al Sinaniyah and Mooza bint Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hosaniyah, have made history by being elected to the first-ever 192-member Municipal Council of Oman.
The Municipal Council elections were held across the governorates on Saturday. What is significant is that three of the winning women, Shaima Al Raisi (Bausher), Sana'a Al Mashariyah (Al Amerat) and Fatima Al Sinaniyah (Quriyat), polled the maximum number of votes in their respective wilayats outscoring the male candidates.
Mooza Al Hosaniyah (Khaboorah) polled the third highest number of votes in her wilayat.
Meanwhile, the percentage of the total voter turnout for the first Municipal Council elections stood at 50.3 per cent, out of which 61.3 per cent were male voters and 38.1 per cent women.
It may be recalled that 546,000 citizens had registered themselves, of which 4,47,551 who had registered electronically, were eligible to vote.
In a statement, Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidy, the Minister of Interior, said that the ministry had put in all efforts to ensure smooth conduct of poll. "We are happy that we were able to introduce for the first time e-voting as well as live transmission of the automatic sorting by live streaming on the Internet for this election. This enabled the citizens to remain updated about the latest news," he said.
The minister also stated that the Municipal Council would contribute to the building of a modern society. The council will also serve as welcome addition to the Majlis Al Shura based on "the principles of partnership, cooperation and institutional integration, which rely on the role of the citizen in serving his country, society and taking part in various developmental programmes."
Meanwhile, addressing the media, Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry and Chairman of the main committee for Municipal Council elections, said, "The ministry is satisfied with the percentage of voting. This is the first municipal election and so in that sense it was satisfactory figure."
He said the efforts and arrangements made during the preparation period helped in the successful completion of elections process. Khalid Al Busaidi said Oman was the first country to the live stream the election process on the Internet.
He also said the election committee would study why there was a huge difference between the voter turnout percentages in the Majlis Al Shura elections (76 per cent) and Municipal Council elections (50.3 per cent).
"The rate of youth's participation in the elections will also be reviewed," he said.
Answering a question, he said the committee had not received any complaints from any candidates in any wilayat so far."
However, candidates can still appeal against the election results before the main committee within 10 days from the date of announcement of the results. "As soon as the main committee receives the appeal, it will refer it to the electoral grievances and appeals settlement committee which will settle the issue within 30 days," the undersecretary pointed out.
On the four women making it to the council, Khalid said, "This is a great achievement and countrymen feel proud of it. It is especially significant because the three women from the capital area have been elected to the council. We wish them success," he said.