No woman in Oman's 84-member council

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Dubai, Oct 28 (UNI) Oman's 84-member advisory Shura Council will have no women members after 21 female candidates failed to win seats in the election.

The outgoing council, elected in 2003, had two women members.

Some activists had suggested a quota system to ensure a minimum level of female participation in the council.

Citizens cast their votes at 102 centres in 61 wilayats, to elect 84 members for a four-year term.

The wilayats of Muscat governorate witnessed a huge turnout of voters at the polling stations.

After exercising their franchise, citizens expressed their satisfaction over the smooth polling conducted by the authorities concerned and members of the election committee, The Oman Times newspaper reported.

While some of the citizens said family relations have had a role in the voting pattern, others said they voted for the right candidates keeping in mind the citizens' needs and aspirations.

The election was preceded by a public election campaign, a first for Oman, where most people still vote along tribal lines rather than on the policies of the candidates.

Mansoor bin Hamid Al Balushi said that the election day was a milestone in the development march of the nation in the Renaissance era under the present government.

He hoped that the suggestions and advice of the elected representatives would help the country to go forward in the right trajectory. The government would also give due weight to their suggestions as they were the representatives of the people, he said.

Another citzen Ahmed bin Salem Al Kalbi said a voter should see that the candidate gives priority to the affairs of his own wilayat first, and only then to those of other wilayats. All citizens should exercise their voting rights according to their assessment of various candidates and should not be influenced by others, he added.

The citizens of the wilayat of Ibri turned out at four voting centres set up in various parts of the wilayat.

In the wilayat of Manah, a total of 3,254 voters turned up at Al Shahama basic school to elect their representatives out of nine candidates.

There were three polling stations in the wilayat of Ja'alan Bani Bu Ali. More than 13,000 voters cast their votes to elect their representatives.

The election committee, meanwhile, hailed the active participation of the citizens in the election.

The Consultation Council was established in 1991 to replace the State Consultative Council. The structure of Majlis Al Shura, its composition and functions have continued to evolve over the years in line with the consultation process.

The Council's annual sessions extend over at least eight months of every year, when it debates and recommends on a wide range of legislative, economic and social powers and prerogatives. These include reviewing draft laws, drawn up by various ministries and government departments and proposing amendments to the existing economic and social laws to the Council of Ministers.

The committee for Majlis Al Shura election chaired by Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan Al Busaidi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior, followed the election process at the different wilayats from the Ministry of Interior headquarters and maintained coordination with the election committees in various wilayats.

The number of voters registered for the election stood at 388,683.

The number of centres stood at 102 including 11 in Muscat, 13 in Dhofar, 29 in Al Batina, seven in Musandam governorate, four in Buraimi governorate, six at Dhahirah region, 11 at Dakhiliyah region, 17 at Sharqiyah region and four at Al Wusta region. Omanis living aborad had cast their votes a few days before at 11 embassies in the AGCC countries, Yemen, Tunis, Egypt, Jordan and Malaysia in addition to the Dubai representation office.


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