Technology draws praise

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: Dec 25: The Municipal Council elections, which were so eagerly awaited, have concluded. What is amazing is the overwhelming public participation and expectations that have increased tremendously. To begin with, many citizens turned up to exercise their francise, according to the voting centre representatives, but some had forgotten to activate their ID cards. They did not give up, though. They went to the Royal Oman Police to complete the registration process and returned to the voting centres to cast their vote. The Municipal Council elections are different from that of Majlis Ash’ shura, but 2016 has proved people’s expectations on the Municipality Council representatives have increased.
The election also saw the introduction of electronic tallying in which counting takes place even as the individual casts his/her vote.
Talal al shahri, who voted in Salalah, said it took him just one and a half minutes to complete the process.
What has been interesting has been the age of the candidates. “It’s only natural because a majority of Oman’s population represents the youth. I’m glad I voted. Everyone should,” said Al Shahri. However, the demographics was different in other parts of the country.
Hind al Amry, a member of the organising committee stationed in Sinaw, said: “Everything went on smoothly. The only challenge was when some voters’ fingerprints were unclear. But that was resolved easily as the technical support team was right there.”
Salim al Maamary, who was back in his wilayat to elect his candidate, said, “I want to thank the government for easing the voting process. Our technology is comparable to the best in the world.”
879952Badr al Dhofri, a reporter, visited quite a few centres and found one of the highest turnouts at the Sinaw voting centre at Abubilad School for Basic Education. While the day began with some arriving at the polling stations before going to work, the second half saw an even bigger turnout.
Fatma Ahmed al Shamsiya, a member of the voting committee who was at Bukha, Musandam, said the women voters started arriving by 10 am. There were seven centres in Musandam. “We were there to guide the voters, but everything else was confidential. Only the voters know whom they voted for.”
Voters were clear about what they expected from candidates, said Abdullah al Rubai, who went reporting throughout North Batinah. “Candidates should be committed, communicate well, be social and discuss issues regularly with citizens,” said a voter.
“We need candidates who look into areas of development for women in the community. We need sports areas and libraries,” said Kamla Darwish.
Hilal al Saadi felt a candidate should have qualification as well as quality.
By 4 pm, polling started gaining momentum. People came in buses in Salalah and Gubrah. “Families and community members have come together from Bausher to cast their votes. Candidates are professional. They have plans, and they are giving handouts of their plans,” said Haffedh al Harthy.
Despite the huge traffic, the voting process went on smoothly.
“People have been engaged in this entire process. There were candidates who decided to stay on till the end the end to pass on their message and showcase their strategy,” said Al Harthy.
In Musannah, voters continued to turn up in large numbers even after sunset.