Muscat: Oman witnessed a good turnout of voters for the eighth Majlis Al Shura polls held across the Sultanate on Sunday.
The final list of winners or the voter turnout was not available at the time of going to print, but some leads were available.
Some of the winners for Majlis Al Shura elections are: Wilayat of Madha: Khalid bin Ahmed bin Said Al Sa’adi, Wilayat of Bukha: Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Malik, Wilayat of Dhank: Hamoud bin Ahmed bin Hamad Al Yahya’ei, Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid: Ahmed bin Hussein bin Khamas Al Sa’adi, Wilayat of Nakhal: Mohammed bin Suleiman bin Hamoud Al Kindi, Wilayat of Wadi Al Ma’awil: Khalid bin Hilal bin Nassir Al Ma’awali, Wilayat of Sumail: Abdullah bin Hamoud bin Salim Al Nadabi, Younis bin Ya’aqoob bin Issa Al Siyabi, Wilayat of Bowsher:Mohammed bin Salim bin Khalifah Al Busaidi, Aziz bin Salim bin Hamoud Al Hassni, Wilayat of Mahadah: Salim bin Ali bin Salim Al Ka'abi, Wilayat of A'Sininah: Hamdan bin Ali bin Rashid Al Manea, Wilayat of Bidiyah: Mohammed bin Said bin A'mir Al Hajri, Wilayat of Ibra: Ahmed bin Saif bin Ahmed Al Barwani, Wilayat of A'Duqm:Tahir bin Mabkout bin Ali Al Junaibi, Wilayat of Mahout: Said bin Mabrook bin Salim Al Wihibi.
Tawfiq Al Lawati, leading candidate from Muttrah, thanked voters for once again showing faith in him.
“We are ready to take on more responsibility,” Al Lawati said.
The other candidates leading from the Muscat governorate are Saif Hamood Khamis Al Amri from Seeb; Khalid Abdul Rahim Al Zedjali from Muscat, and Ahmed Said Al Mashery from Amerat.
People came out early from their homes to cast their vote at the 107 polling centres spread across the Sultanate. When the voting started at 7am, most of the polling centres had long queues of people patiently waiting for their turn to cast their votes.
A total of 590 candidates contested for the 85 seats, vying for the backing of a total of 611,906 registered voters.
Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, Minister of Interior, reviewed the progress of the election process in various wilayats of the Sultanate throughout the day by visiting various polling stations.
Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al Busaidi, chairman of the Main Committee for the Majlis Al Shura’s eighth term elections, said voting went on very smoothly without any hindrances in all the wilayats.
Al Busaidi informed that the mobile e-units were available at the election centres to help voters who had not activated the e-system in their IDs to fix it and enable them to vote.
He also said a full paid leave was granted to voters working in both public and private sectors, provided they obtained a paper from the voting centre. “I would like to appreciate the spirit of cooperation among voters and workers at the election committees,” he said.
Most of the voters who turned out for polls gave a thumbs up to the way the election was conducted.
Expressing happiness over the smooth process, Khalid Al Sinani said, “The arrangement and management of the election process was very smooth and professional.”
Al Sinani, who was voting for the third time, said, “We had to wait for a long time during the 2007 elections. This automated system is in line with the requirements of modernisation and development of the nation.”
Al Busaidi explained that new technologies including of e-voting were introduced in this election.
Voters used this system on October 18 at the embassies of the GCC countries, the Sultanate’s Commercial Office in Dubai, as well as for the staff of the electing and voting committees. The system was also used at the standard election centre in the Wilayat of Bausher in Muscat Governorate and by voters in Dhofar and Musandam Governorates.
The chairman affirmed that e-voting system has proved to be efficient and accurate. Therefore, there is scope for wider use of this system in the election process in the future.
Meanwhile, Ali bin Khalfan Al Jabri, under secretary of the Ministry of Information, said the Majlsi Al Shura experiment is going on well as guided by the wise vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Al Jabri said a landmark achievement during the previous term of the Majlis Al Shura included the election of the chairman of Majlis Al Shura from among its members. This means that the Majlis Al Shura was constantly developing as an institution and its evolution would not stop at a particular stage.
Al Jabri affirmed that the over the past years, the Majlis Al Shura, in its various terms, has achieved qualitative and quantitative progress and was evolving in line with the best international practices.
He added that many media persons and journalists from different parts of the world alongside Omani correspondents and journalists who prepare reports for regional and international media, covered the election process.
He asserted that the extensive presence of the journalists at the Media Centre was an indicator that the Omani experience is being tracked by media from different parts of the world.
Hamdan Al Yousufy, a member of the Municipal Council, said most of the candidates contesting were well educated.
“This election features a number of well educated candidates. It will change a lot of things and I believe they will bring about positive changes in Majlis Al Shura,” Hamdan said.
Maryam Al Zadjali explained that she voted because she wanted “the winning candidates to take people’s voices and demands to the concerned authorities at the centre.”
Of the eight candidates who contested in the Wilayat of Muscat, one was a woman.
Sayyid Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Busaidi, Deputy Wali of Muscat, Head of the Election Committee in the wilayat, said the voting process was conducted smoothly, highlighting the efforts made by members of the Election Committee to expedite the election process.
He pointed out that the number of male and female voters registered at the electoral registry in the Wilayat of Muscat stood at 12,136.
He also said that two centres were prepared for voting in Al Zahra School for Basic Education that includes 13 halls, and Safana Bint Hatim Al Ta’ee School in Yitti that includes 9 halls.
In the Wilayat of Salalah, voters headed to the ballot boxes to elect two representatives from among eight candidates. The number of total voters stood at 32,818.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohsen Al Shanfri, adviser to the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, Head of the Election Committee in the Wilayat of Salalah, said the wilayat witnessed early preparations as four election centres with 53 halls received voters in different parts of the Wilayat of Salalah.