|Enthusiastic voters flock to polling booths
MUSCAT Since early morning, Omani voters began casting their votes to elect 84 candidates to the Shura Council’s seventh term (2011-2015) on a historic day for citizens of the Sultanate.
A total of 1,133 candidates, including 77 women, are in the fray.
Since 7am, male and female citizens thronged to the 105 election centres, which had a total of 900 ballot boxes, between six and 16 at each centre.
Election committees in the wilayats witnessed voters queue up at the election centres.
The Main Committee for the Shura Council elections had earlier put the total number of registered voters at 518,000.
The votes of Omani citizens in GCC countries and members of the election committees which were cast earlier will be combined with the votes cast on Saturday.
The Shura Council seventh term elections are marked by distinct features. The Elections Main Committee had said the election centres would be open from 7am to 7pm and that the timing would be extended as per the need.
For the first time in elections in the Sultanate, ID cards were used to confirm the presence of the voter. Voters who registered their IDs on the election register were seen to cast their votes early on Saturday.
Mobile units, with officials from the Interior Ministry and Royal Oman Police, were provided for citizens to register their IDs even on the election day.
The elections also saw voters being allowed to publish propaganda as per the rules and regulations and candidates were allowed to introduce themselves and meet voters.
Transfer of election record of voters from one wilayat to another was also facilitated.
Members of the election committees guided voters to the ballot boxes.
In Muscat Governorate, elections in the Wilayat of Muscat was conducted at two election centres — Al Zohour Basic Education School and Al Khairan Basic Education School.
In the Wilayat of Seeb, voters poured into the election centres at Hafs Bin Rashid Post Basic Education School in A’ Sharadi area and Aseelah Bint Qais Basic Education School in Southern Al Hail. The Hafs Bin Rashid Post Basic Education School election centre had nine main halls for men and seven for women. Aseelah Bint Qais Basic Education School had nine halls for men and six for women. Two mobile units for registering voters’ IDs were provided at the entrance of the election centres.
HE Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Abri, Deputy Wali of Seeb and rapporteur of the Committee, told ONA that 57 candidates, including nine women, were contesting for two seats in the wilayat, which has 19,200 registered male and female voters.
In the Wilayat of Quriyat, voting started early morning at the three election centres. The Raba’a Al Adawiyah centre had nine halls for women; Zainab Bint Abi Sufian centre with nine halls was allocated for men; and the Fins School centre had four halls for men and women.
The centres witnessed good turnout after its opening in the presence of HE Sayyid Ahmed Bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Wali of Quriyat and Chairman of the Elections Committee at the wilayat, the supervising committees and candidates.
Male and female voters in the Wilayat of Bausher cast votes at two election centres to elect two representatives from among 26 candidates, including four women.
Thuraya Al Busaidiyah School centre was for female voters and Al Ula school for male voters.
HE Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Yahya Al Rowahi, Wali of Baushar and Chariman of the Elections Committee at the Wilayat, told voting started at 7am in the presence of heads of the voting committees and candidates and progressed smoothly.
In the Wilayat of Muttrah, citizens voted to elect representatives from among 26 candidates, including three women, for two seats.
HE Sheikh Yahya Bin Nasser Al Harasi, Wali of Muttrah, said the process went well at the two election centres. The Imam Jabir Bin Zaid school in Al Wattayah was for male voter and had 16 halls; the Al Qurum Basic Education School was allocated for females and had nine halls.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Amerat thronged to Ahmed Bin Said Al Khalili School to cast their votes. The wilayat has 26 candidates, including three women, for two seats. HE Sheikh Muhana Bin Saif Al Ma’awali, Wali of Amerat, said both male and female voters turned out to vote.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Sohar, which has 30 candidates including four women, cast votes at three election centres. HE Sheikh Saif Bin Hemiar Al Malik Al Shuhi, Wali of Sohar and Head of the wilayat’s Elections Committee, said there were 39 voting halls, 16 for women and 23 for men, at the election centres.
The Al Risala Basic Education School election centre at Al Awinat village in the south had five halls for women and six for men. The Al Hikma Basic education school in the central part of the wilayat had six halls for women and 10 for men. The Umm Ammarah Basic Education School in the northern part of the wilayat had five halls for females and seven for males.
Al Shuhi said workshops and meetings with members of the committees were held to ensure the success of the election process.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Liwa began voting early morning in the presence of HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Salim Bin Saif Al Aghbari, Wali of Liwa and Head of the Elections Committee in the wilayat. Al Aghbari told the candidates cast their votes followed by other voters. The election centre in the wilayat had the electronic device to register IDs and a medical clinic. It has 16 candidates, including two women.
The Wilayat of Al Kabourah witnessed huge turnout. Men voted at the Al Farooq School and women at Durat Al Ilm School. The ballot boxes were opened before the candidates to ensure they were empty. The wilayat has 11,000 male and female voters and 20 candidates.
In the Wilayat of Al Musannah, citizens cast votes at election centres in Al Shu’aiabh Basic Education School, As’ad Bin Zarara Basic Education School and Al Imam Khanbash Bin Mohammed Basic Education School. The wilayat has 27 candidates, including three females. HE Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Ma’amari, Wali of Al Musannah, said the process was smooth.
In the Wilayat of Mahdha, elections centres opened in the presence of Shihab Bin Hamad Al Balushi, Deputy Wali of Madha, and members of the committee. Candidates cast their votes followed by other voters. Al Balushi said the election contributes to development in all fields.
The Wilayat of Rustaq witnessed good turnout at the election centres of Asma Bint Yazeed Basic Education School, Othman Bin Madh’oon Basic Education School and Sa’ad Bin Al Rabeea Basic Education School.
The Wilayat of Adam witnessed good turnout. Citizens cast their votes at Adam School.
HE Sheikh Awadh Bin Abdullah Al Manthri, Wali of Adam and Head of the Elections Main Committee in the wilayat, met the 12 candidates, including a woman, early morning and showed them the empty ballot boxes after which the candidates cast their votes. Eight halls were provided for male and female voters and two halls for disabled voters.
In the Wilayat of Masirah, citizens cast their votes at Masha’el Al Ilm Basic Education School. Maseerah has 2,498 male and female voters and eight candidates, including a woman.
HE Sheikh Sulaiman Bin Salim Al Mahrouqi, Wali of Masirah, said the ballot boxes were opened at 7am in the presence of heads of sorting and voting committees.
In the Wilayat of Bidbid, the election centre at Al Ethar Basic Education School received voters. Mahmoud Bin Mohammed Al Rawahi, Head of the organising committee, said the turnout was good at the six voting halls for males and five for females.
In the Wilayat of Dhank, citizens cast votes at Al Anwar Basic Education School voting centre. HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Nadabi, Wali of Dhank and Head of the wilayat’s Elections Main Committee, and members of the committee opened the ballot boxes in the presence of the candidates and voters.
In the Governorate of Dhofar, voters cast their votes to elect their representatives for the Shura’s seventh term.
Voters in the Wilayat of Salalah headed to voting centres to elect their representatives since early morning.
In all, 32 candidates are contesting for the Shura in the Wilayat of Salalah and 14,000 male and female citizens are registered who had installed the election system on their ID cards. Male and female citizens cast their votes in the Wilayat of Salalah in four centres; two of which in west Salalah and Sadah and two centres in the Niyabats of Ghado and Zeik to select their two candidates for representing the Wilayat of Salalah in Shura’s seventh term for a period of four years.
Ahmed Bin Mohsen Al Shanfari, Director-General of Local Affairs at the Office of the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar and Head of the Shura elections committee in the Wilayat of Salalah, said the seventh term of the Shura elections was distinguished by introducing modern technology in the elections process. “It also witnessed early preparations in the Wilayat of Salalah by availing four voting centres that include 28 voting halls, which were geographically distributed so as to be close to about 14,000 male and female voters living in cities, plains and rural areas,” he said.
Al Shanfari added that this number includes those who installed the system out of 24,000 male and female citizens registered in the electoral record in the Wilayat of Salalah. He said that citizens headed to cast their votes in the polling boxes, which were opened in the morning in the presence of the candidates and members of the voting, sorting and organising committee.
Maizon Bint Bakheet Al Shihriyah, Head of the Voting Committee in the Wilayat of Salalah, congratulated all Omanis for the national event, praying to Allah the Almighty for the success of this day. She said citizens thronged to voting centres since morning.
The Wilayat of Thumrait in the Governorate of Dhofar witnessed turnout since morning. Abdulsalam Bin Salim Al Najar, Head of the Voting Committee in the Wilayat of Thumrait, said the wilayat, with 3,918 voters and 14 candidates had two voting centres with three halls each. The halls in Jabir Bin Hayan School for General Education were allocated for male voters. The Thumrait School for General Education was allocated for female voters.
The Wilayat of Dhalkut, with 13 candidates, witnessed saw good turnout at the six halls. The attendance of women was more than the previous years.
HE Sheikh Ghazi Bin Salim Al Shanfari, Wali of Dhalkut and head of the wilayat’s elections committee, said the elections witnessed modern systems to facilitate voting.
The Wilayat of Mirbat witnessed remarkable turnout from male and female voters at Mirbat School for Basic Education. HE Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al Gharaibi, Wali of Mirbat and Head of the Elections Committee, put the number of voters in the wilayat at 6,150. He said 4,542 citizens registered their ID cards until the beginning of the poll (69.27 per cent).
He said all committees worked to facilitate the electoral process. Five voting halls were allocated for females and six for males, besides two stand-by halls. Five candidates contested from the wilayat.
The Wilayat of Barka, with 22,324 voters, cast votes in four voting centres. The Al Rumais centre was for males, Yanabeea’ Al Hikma for females, and Asma’ Bint A’Nu’man and Shiraf Bint Khalifa centres for males and females. The 38 halls were manned by 202 members.
The Wilayat of A’Sanainah, with 125 voters and two candidates, saw citizens cast votes since morning. Sheikh Fahd Bin Sultan Al Yaqoubi, Head of the wilayat’s Elections Committee, told the e-system avoids repeating of votes and enables confidentiality. The number of voters in the Wilayat of A’Sanainah stands at 125.
The Wilayat of Manah, which has 15 candidates and 4,552 registered voters, witnessed a large turnout at the A’Shahama School for Basic Education. Sheikh Salim Bin Rabee’ Al Sunaidi, Wali of Manah, praised the heads and members of the Voting and Organising Committees and the Main Committee in the Interior Ministry for facilitating the process.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Al Kamil Wa Al Wafi, which has 13 candidates including a woman, began casting votes since morning.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Ibri cast votes at the town centre in Ibri, Wadi Al Ain, A’Draiz and Muqniyat; 36 candidates including women females are in the fray.
HE Sheikh Dr Khalifa Bin Hamad A’Sa’adi, Wali of Ibri, mentioned the effective partnership in decision-making as the Shura Council is a pure Islamic model and that the Omani citizen has enjoyed educational and cultural care since the dawn of the Blessed Renaissance.
The Wilayat of Izki, which has 17 contestants including a woman, witnessed good turnout since morning.
In the Wilayat of Al Awabi, voters cast votes at Salma Bint Qais Basic Education School in the presence of HE Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Salim Al Abdulsalam, Wali of Al Awabi and head of wilayat’s elections committee, and Sheikh Sultan Bin Hilal Al Alawi, Deputy Wali. The voting progressed smoothly.
In the Wilayat of Shaleem and Juzr Al Halaniyat, voters poured into the voting centre in Shaleem Basic Education School, which was had three halls, two for males and one for females. Sheikh Bakheet Bin Salim Al Mashani, Wali of Shaleem and Juzr Al Halaniyat and Head of the Elections Committee, said the wilayat has 39 candidates and 1,427 voters.
HE Sheikh Ali Bin Mohammed Al Shakili, Wali of Rakhyut and head of the elections committee, said it pointed to the awareness among women. The wilayat has 17 candidates and 3,719 voters.
In the Wilayat of Taqah, citizens cast votes at Al Sayida Mezoon Bint Ahmed School. The wilayat has 10 candidates. Out of 5,511 voters, 3,688 activated their IDs.
Fatima Bint Oubaid Al Amri, Chairperson of the Omani Women’s Association in the Wilayat of Taqah, said early preparations made the process easy for voters. She stressed the role of Omani women in the election.
In the Wilayat of Al Mazyounah, citizens cast votes in the four halls at Omar Bin Abdulaziz Boys School. HE Sheikh Salim Bin Suhail Zeedi Tabook, Wali of Al’ Mazyounah and head of the elections committee in the wilayat, said the voting progressed smoothly in the wilayat, which has 14 candidates and 2,500 voters. There were also two reserve halls for registering IDs of citizens who had not done it earlier.
In the Wilayat of Maqshan, citizens voted at Maqshan Basic Education School.
In the wilayat 1,138 male and female voters were registered. Nine candidates were in fray. The voting was peaceful.
HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Hamr, Wali of Maqshan and Head of the Elections Committee in the wilayat, said the ballot boxes were opened at 7am in the presence of the heads of the voting and sorting out committees and candidates.
Saqr Bin Mohammed Ghawas, head of the voting committee, said two halls have been dedicated for men and two other halls were for women for voting, which witnessed a good turn out.
In the Wilayat of Sadah, voters turned in large numbers at Sadah Basic Education School since early morning to cast their votes.
Salim Bin Mohammed Al Ma’amari, head of the voting committee, said the wilayat has 1,834 male and female voters who will select their representatives from among 16 candidates.
He said the election process was smooth.
More than 14,000 male and female voters, registered in the Wilayat of Shinas voted in the Shura Council elections.
HE Sheikh Hamoud Bin Hamad Al Wahshi, Wali of Shinas, said the wilayat had completed preparations to ensure smooth conduct of the election process.
He said the voters turned out at 25 voting halls in two election centres, one for men comprising 15 voting halls at Al Ma’arefa Basic Education School and one for women with 10 voting halls at Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas School for General Education.
He said that one hall in each election centre has been dedicated for special cases shown in work manual for the Election Sub Committees.
He also said that government establishments in the wilayat provided supportive services to ensure the success of the election process such the Regional Municipalities and Water Resources ministry, Royal Oman Police, Health Service and Majan Electricity.
In the Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid, men and women voters turned out to the voting halls to elect their representatives for the Shura’seventh term. The election centre at Abu Malik Basic Education School – Second Cycle had three halls for men and three for women.
HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Salim Al Ghailani, Wali of Wadi Bani Khalid, said large number of voters voted.
Ahmed Bin Saleh Al Hashmi, head of the voting committee, said the halls received good number of voters.
The Wilayat of Nizwa recorded good turnout of voters since early morning to the two ballot centres in the Niyabat of Al Jabel Al Akhdhar and at the wilayat centre.
HE Sayyid Badr Bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Wali of Nizwa, said the election process in the Wilayat of Nizwa was smooth despite good turnout.
In the Wilayat of Yanqul, 11 candidates including two women are vying for one seat. Voters poured into Al Rashad Basic Education School (Grade 1-4 ) early morning to elect their representative.
The wilayat has more than 3,700 male and female voters.
HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saleh Al Ma’awali, Wali of Saham and head of the main committee for elections, said that 35 halls were prepared in four electoral centres equipped with devices and computers to facilitate voting process.
The Wilayat of Saham had 35 candidates including three females.
Voters in the wilayats of the Governorate of Musandam voted at 10 centres in the four wilayats to select their representatives for Shura’s seventh term.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Khasab voted at four polling centres in Abu Bakr A’Sedaiq School, Musandam School in Khasab, Hamza Bin Abdulmutalib School in the Niyabat of Lima and Mohammed Saleh Al Mutafiqi School in Kamzar where 16 candidates including two females were in the fray in the Wilayat of Khasab.
Voters in the Wilayat of Bukha voted in Al Muhamadiyah School and the training centre affiliated to the Directorate-General of Education in the Governorate of Musandam where six candidates including one female were contesting in the Wilayat of Bukha.
HE Sheikh Saif Bin Abdullah Al Ma’amari, Wali of Bukha, visited the voting centres in the wilayat to inspect the electoral process in the wilayat.
The voting was held in the presence of HE Sheikh Hilal Bin Salim Al Busaidi, Wali of Nakhl and Head of the Elections Committee and members of the three committees. The electoral centre witnessed a large turnout in Al Huda School for Basic Education. The Wilayat of Nakhl had 9 including one female candidate in the fray.
The wilayat has 3,491 male and female voters registered.
In the Wilayat of Wadi Al Ma’awel voters voted at Wadi Al Ma’awel School for Basic Education in Al Meraigha to elect one candidate among eight candidates including one female.
HE Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hilal Al Alawi, Wali of Wadi Al Ma’awel and head of the elections committee in the wilayat, said the elections process was conducted in a calm atmosphere.
Voters in the Wilayat of Buraimi arrived at the voting centres in Amina Bint Al Immam Jabir Bin Zaid School for boys and Al Majd School for Basic Education for Girls as 11 halls were prepared in the male centre and six halls in the female centre. There were 29 including one female candidate.
HE Sheikh Khalaf Bin Salim Al Is’haqi, Wali of Buraimi, and head of the elections committee, said the electoral process began at 7am in the presence of the judge and head of the voting committee
The wali of Buraimi said the electoral process was conducted satisfactorily as the electoral centre was provided with all logistics.
In the Wilayat of Al Hamra, the electors voted at Al Hamra Basic Education School to cast their votes and select their representative out of eight candidates for the Shura’s seventh term elections in a good atmosphere.
HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salim Al Aghbari, Wali of Al Hamra and head of the elections committee, said the number of electors stood at 3200. He said the election process witnessed the participation of various categories of the society as it moved easily with no obstacles.
In the Wilayat of Bahla, the electors started since the early morning casting their votes to select their representatives for the Shura’s seventh term membership at Jamah Basic Education Centre and Al Harith Basic Education Centre.
HE Sheikh Dr Sulaiman Bin Saud Al Jabri, Wali of Bahla, said the number of electors registered in the elections lists stood at 13,600, pointing out that there was a great turnout from all categories of the society.
Voters in the Wilayat of Bahla voted to select two representatives out of 23 candidates including a female.
In the Wilayat of Ja’alan Bani Bu Hassan, male and female electors poured into the elections centres to select their representatives.
HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Rashid Al Miqbali, Wali of Ja’alan Bani Bu Hassan and head of the elections committee in the wilayat, said the election convoys for the Shura started comfortably since 7am, calling upon the male and female electors to caste their votes and play their role.
In the Wilayat of Ja’alan Bani Bu Ali, 27 candidates are competing to win two seats that represent the wilayat in the Shura Council. The voting process took place at three centres at Habib Bin Zaid Basic Education School, Al Murgan Basic Education School in the Niyabat of Al Ashkharah and Al Haddah Basic Education School in Al Hadda costal village.
HE Sheikh Hilal Bin Ali Al Habsi, Wali of Ja’alan Bani Bu Ali and Head of the Elections Committee in the wilayat said the number of electors stood at 16,666.
The three electoral centres in the Wilayat of Mudhaibi — with 35 candidates including two women — received 18,000 voters. The voting centres were at Al Manara School for Basic Education in Al Mudhaibi, Saih A’Nama School for Basic Education in the Niyabat of Sinaw and Samad School for Basic Education in Samad A’Sha’an.
HE Sheikh Me’athad Bin Mohammed Al Ya’aqoubi, Wali of Mudhaibi, and head of elections committee in the wilayat, said a large number citizens cast their votes.
Citizens in the Wilayat of Sumail cast their votes at Mariyah Al Qobtiyah Basic Education School. HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al Kindi, Wali of Sumail, said the good turnout showed citizens’ awareness of their duties. The wilayat has 33 contestants, including two women. He said 9,419 citizens are registered in the electoral register, compared to 5,620 in the past.
In the Wilayat of Sur, where 19,000 citizens registered in the election register, cast votes at centres in Al Morowa Basic Education School, Bilad Sur Basic Education School and Tiwi Basic Education School. Medical cadres were stationed at all these centres.
HE Sheikh Ali Bin Ahmed Al Shamsi, Wali of Sur and head of the main committee in the wilayat, said the Shura Council seventh term marks a qualitative shift in terms of the procedures followed to ensure transparency and avoiding the multiple voting.
In the Wilayat of Ibra, which has 11 contestants including a woman, voters queued up at the Sumaiya School for Basic Education since morning.
Oman News Agency