The municipal council elections of the Sultanate of Oman have entered a new phase. The process has started with the announcement of the lists of candidates. It will strengthen the democracy based on a parliamentary system which reflects the aspirations of the common people. It is the responsibility of voters that they should exercise their rights and choose best candidates who want to represent them in these councils. This is how the common people know their rights and duties.
There is no doubt that these municipal council elections show the awareness of the society in this regard as well as their interest in actively participating in the process. It is expected that their coming phase would be more vibrant and full of positive energy. This move would make the administration of governorates more decentralised. It will make them more powerful in making their frameworks as well as legislations. This will mark as a major development in meeting the aspirations of Oman’s Vision 2040.
Such experiments and experiences cannot be undermined, as they address the aspirations of the common people of the country. The entire process, from registration of voters to announcement of candidates, from their winning to their role as members of these councils, is a unique experience. It has huge value for the entire nation to develop it as a more progressive country. Addressing the common aspirations is the key to overall development of the country. These are the elected councils which represent the aspirations and hopes of the people. They are meant to gauge what people want at the governorate or national levels.
These councils set the responsibilities of the people at the helm and make them accountable towards the common people.
So far, the number of candidates have reached 760. The number of voters is over 623,000. This shows a massive increase in the number of candidates as well as voters. This indicates the interests of the people in the process. In the second phase, there was 39.85 per cent voting, of which there were 63.20 per cent men voters and 36.8 per cent women voters. There are signs that this would further increase in the next phase.
But everything requires a sense of popular participation. Everybody should come forward as candidates or a voter. This is the core of the process. If there is no interest, the institution would fail. We should not allow this to happen. Instead, we should play the role of strengthening it by ensuring large scale participation of the people. The turnout of voters should increase as well as candidates.
Of course, it is a major challenge to increase the ratio of participation in the electoral process of municipal polls. But there is no other way out. It is required by everybody to not to ignore the entire process without registering their presence at every stage in every role. Everything has transformed from manual to digital. This is also reflected in the elections. The polls in the Sultanate of Oman could not remain untouched by these changes. Instead, this country has utilised these means and methods in an optimum manner.
These are the reasons we expect that the municipal council elections would be a huge success and the means and methods used for it would match eerie technological development in the world.