Omanis go to polls today

OMAN: Voters in Oman are going to the polls on Sunday to elect representatives in the 86-member Consultative Shura Council.

The Consultative Shura Council Is part of the larger Council of Oman, which also includes the appointed State Council.

About 753,952 voters have been registered to vote in the sultanate with an estimated population of 4,576,300.

Ahead of this year’s Shura Council elections, the Ministry of the Interior has launched an app called “Election” that will allow voters to vote online.

The app will use ID cards and AI-powered facial recognition to verify voters’ identities.

The ‘Election’ app also provides access to electoral resources such as candidate profiles, community fora, accessibility information, and election results.

Oman, a traditionally peaceful country, has maintained peace and tranquility ahead of the much-awaited Shura Council elections 2023, with citizens here expected to show up in big numbers to cast their ballots.

Ahead of the polls, candidates have been wooing the voters using various platforms, including public rallies, billboards and media, with the use of social media increasingly becoming a vital tool in the electoral campaigns.

Former Oman national soccer team player, Sultan Ismaili is among candidates vying for the Shura Council seats to represent Bowshar, one of the wilayats (districts) of Muscat, the capital of Oman.

In a short video clip circulated via social media platforms, the retired defender pledges to build a strong partnership between the private sector and social entities (NGOs) in Bowshar.

Ismaili says since youths are the fuel for growth and development and the social pillar through which activities and community services are executed, it is important to invest in them.

“It is vital to have a strategy and plan that builds a real relationship mechanism between leading, small and medium-sized companies with the different youth segments such as sports and local teams as these institutions embrace a large segment of youth and provide an opportunity to develop talent and promote sporting and cultural events,” he says.

“We want it to be a true partnership and for these companies to work with complete dedication knowing that they have a social responsibility in Bowshar,” Mr Ismaili stresses.

The late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said established the Shura Council in 1991 in a bid to modernize Oman’s government.

According to Oman’s leadership and election system, the Sultan is appointed by the Royal Family Council from among the legitimate male descendants of Sayyid Turki bin Said bin Sultan.

In the Council of State, all 85 members are appointed by the Sultan.

In the Consultative Council, all 86 members are directly elected by plurality vote from 1-2 seat constituencies.

Successful candidates serve a four-year term and are permitted to run for re-election.

The previous Shura Council election took place in 2019, where independents won all 86 seats in the Consultative Council, with voter turnout at 49.02%.

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