Muscat: Oman made history on Sunday when it successfully held fully digital municipal elections where nearly 40 per cent of the Omani voters cast their votes through smartphone app Intekhab to elect 126 council members representing 63 wilayats.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said 288,469 citizens voted in the election. “The number of voters voting in the elections for members of municipal councils for the third term reached 288,469 voters or 39.42%,” MoI said in a statement.
Dhofar topped the list of polling with 60,679 out of 84,818 voters casting their votes.
Addressing the media, Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al Busaidy, Minister of Interior, congratulated the winners and election committee for the successful completion of the electoral process. He said the digital voting and counting saved time, effort and money apart from simplifying procedures for voters, candidates and the committees supervising the elections.
The minister underlined His Majesty’s keenness on upgrading the councils’ legislations to empower them to realise more partnership with the government in municipal affairs, notably by boosting the overall development march and the growth of governorates—so that the councils could serve as channels of national action aimed to accomplish the goals of Oman Vision 2040.
The minister said the government has embarked on the modernisation of elections in line with this vision and its approaches for digital transition. The action, he said, involved the automation of all steps and stages of the electoral process. It begins from the moment the names of voters are entered in the Electoral Register and proceeds through the stage of candidacy to the stages of voting and counting.
The minister pointed out that new high accuracy applications were implemented, to ensure both secrecy and cybersecurity. This process, he explained, is fully reliant on artificial intelligence accessed via smart phones to enable the voters from Oman and abroad to select their preferred candidates.
The minister wished the members success in performing their missions. He also thanked all parties that contributed to the success of the elections—the government departments, the private sector establishments, the members of the preparatory and organisational committees and all those who contributed to the elections.
Oman Human Rights Commission also praised the smooth conduct of Municipal Councils elections.
A delegation from the commission visited the Elections Control Centre where it held meetings with members of the Main Committee.
The commission valued the whole new approach, which replaced voters’ physical presence at electoral centres with online voting that can be done from home or office or anywhere else.
The supervisory committee also lauded the application of digital voting which, it said, ensures transparency and secrecy in conducting elections.
Dr Ali bin Amer al Shaithani, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, and Chairman of the Technical Committee for the elections of members of the Municipal Council’s third term, said: “The electoral process this year was characterised by smoothness and ease, as the voters cast their votes through Intekhab.