Voting for Oman's first Municipal Council elections closed on Saturday evening across 104 polling centres across the country, with indications of a high turnout across the country as hundreds of thousands of citizens cast their votes.
A total of 1,475 candidates were in the fray for 192 seats in the elections, with 546,000 people having registered their intention to cast votes.
People were seen queueing at polling stations throughout the day, although there were some isolated cases of problems with the electronic voting system. ROP officials stood guard near polling stations across 61 wilayats to assist in the election process.
After voting closed at 7pm, the ballot boxes were transferred from polling stations to centralised locations amidst tight security before counting began, and the first batch of winning candidates was announced just a few hours later. Many of the voters found the exercise a simple one.
Azzan al Kindi from Seeb, who voted for the first time on Saturday, said, “Voting was easy and fun. I voted for a woman candidate who I think will win.”
Zahra al Hinai, a social activist and businesswoman who voted at Asila bint Qais School for Basic Education in Seeb, said the process could have been smoother.
“Registration of IDs on the e-voting system is automatically done by ROP. So why refer registered voters to ROP's e-mobile units to install chips for the e-voting system again? We should have learned something from the Majlis A'Shura election experience.”
She said that some voters were turned away from the Seeb polling station as they had not registered with the ROP e-mobile units.
Sheikha Abdullah al Shuaibi, deputy chairman of the voting committee at the centre, said all preparations were in place before voting began. “Voting went off smoothly. The majority of 23,000 registered voters in the wilayat of Seeb exercised their franchise at the centre.”
Sheikh Hamoud bin Ahmed Yahyai, chairman of the electoral committee for the wilayat of Muttrah, said that voter turnout was higher than expected but lower than in the Shura Council elections.
“Political awareness has increased among citizens. Several voters brought their children so that they could also get a feel of the whole process.”
Sameera al Shilania also from the electoral committee for Muttrah, added, “The process went off without a hitch.”
Results announced so far
Al Jazir: Said Rabeea al Jenaibi, Zayid Abdoon Musallam al Jenaibi
Dhalkhut: Ahmed Salim Bakheet Hardan, Mohammed Saad Sankoor Ofait
Dibba: Ahmed Ibrahim Ali al Dhuhuri, Saleh Abdullah Mohammed al Dhuhuri
Duqm: Sabih Rashid Said al Junaibi, Said Saleh Hamdoon al Junaibi
Mahda: Mohammed Saif Juma al Kaabi, Khamis Salim Said al Kaabi
Shaleem and Halaniyat Islands: Sultan Zayed Mohammed al Bathari, Mohammed Dalakum Suhail Azzab al Mahari
Sunaina: Nasser Ali Musabbah al Shamsi, Mohammed Hammed Muftah al Shamsi
Wadi Maawil: Badr Malik Saif al Mawali, Salim Ali Said al Nabi