Municipal election evokes good response in Salalah

By Kaushalendra Singh — SALALAH: Dec. 25: The municipal election evoked good response in Salalah on Sunday as impressive voters’ turnout was witnessed at all the four polling stations in the city. Voters started pouring at the polling stations before the actual voting time of 7 am and were seen quietly waiting for their turn to cast the vote. The peak voting at all the centres in Salalah was between 9 am to 12 am in the first half of the day, while 3 pm onwards up to 7 pm registered many footfalls. Sporadic voting continued till the end of the vote timing at 7 pm. A total of 34,715 voters were registered to vote, which was 17,749 more than last election’s 26,966 voters.
Voters turn out at all the voting stations in Salalah was impressive with more than 30 to 35 per cent votes cast by 10.15 am. Terming this to be very good response from people in general, Mohammed Salem al Ghassani, one of the duty supervisors of the election at Khaula centre, said: “The voting is going on smoothly mainly due to system in place. Due to application of the best possible technology to conduct the election, it is not taking more than 30 seconds to 35 seconds per person to cast the vote. Maximum time taken for one person to cast the vote is 1 minute.”
“The beauty of the whole process is transparency during voting and counting. We have adopted such a mechanism that the counting process can be seen live via Internet or on the television, as all the counting centres are linked through Internet and television cameras,” he said.
There were many voters at the polling booths who were exercising their right to franchise for the first time. For Imad, who works in a construction company, voting gives the voters a chance to choose candidates of their choice and impress upon them to fulfill the day-to-day requirements of the common man. He termed this to be the direct participation people in the municipal policymaking.
Another poll supervisor at Khoula School polling centre was elated over the election. “Now it is easy for us to communicate with higher ups in the municipality. We can communicate our grievances through our elected representatives,” he said.
Among the voters, Mohammed cast his vote with a hope that the elected representative to whom he had voted for would work as true representative of the community and solve prevailing problems after listening directly to the people.”
“Every society has some day-to-day issues and the election gives us an opportunity to elect a man who represents the society in true sense. As he happens to be one among us, it is easy for us to approach him and convince him about the issues concerning us,” he said.
There were many young voters at the polling station, who took leave to exercise their right to franchise. They were seen enthusiastic to cast vote and elated after coming out of the polling stations.
Equal enthusiasm was seen among senior voters. Rashid (55) brought his 33-year-old son to ensure that both of them cast vote.
When asked what difference this election would make in policy making, Rashid said: “This will give the policy makers a chance to get feedback from the grassroots. And since we send our representative to municipality, he knows our problems. This will help the government in coming out with better policies for the people.”
Another voter, Salim expressed happiness over the arrangements at the polling stations. According to him, the technology adopted by the authorities involved in the electoral process is quite effective and convenient for both, the candidates and the voters.
Nasr Said Ali al Wuhaibi, Result Supervisor of the election, was impressed with the technology being introduced this year. “The machine being used this year is equipped with doing the counting at the same time. Certain user friendly steps are needed to ensure fairness and quickness of the election process,” he said.
— Pictures by Hamad al Khatri