OMAN TAKES FABULOUS DEMOCRATIC TURN

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Zahid Malik

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 – Muscat—There was a jubilant welcome with a sense of pride to the elections of 192 Councils by the 546,000 voters in the State-wide first-ever Municipal Council elections. It was a definite leap forward towards democratization as it suits the genesis of the people of Sultanate of Oman and I would say now the 2.5 million Omanis, who are duly proud of their centuries-old indigenous culture and a unique people-friendly and benevolent governance of HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said, stand fully integrated with the local as well as national development-related matters in all respects.

I visited four election centres and spent about eight long hours to witness the proceedings of the elections including the one exclusively meant for women, and I would say that human mind, perhaps, could not think of a move flawless, smooth and trust-worthy elections than the Omani Municipal Council elections. Mr. Mohammad Saif Hamad Al-Mawali, Wali of Almirat, an Omani stick-holder bearded man was visibly proud when he told the Pakistan Observer that the people of his Walayat were happy to participate in a process what was bound to bring democracy to their doorstep.

The polling centres were created by taking into consideration the density of population in each Wilayat and other factors including accessibility of the centres in the cities and remote areas and villages.

Omani voters, including students, residing in the GCC countries cast their ballot on December 15.

What particularly merits mentioning is that all the election centres were equipped with optical scan voting system besides other electing tools and election requirements.

The Municipal Council elections seek to involve people in nation building and taking their views and recommendations on implementing service projects and framing the future plans.Here let me pay my compliments to Oman’s new vibrant and most professional leadership of the re-furbished Ministry of Information. Dr. Abdulmonam Mansoor Al-Hasani, a Mass Communications expert, is the new Information Minister and Mr. Ali Bin Khalfan Al Jabri, Under Secretary and a careerpublicist, who made excellent arrangements for minute-to-minute projection of the enthusiastic proceedings of the mile-stone local elections.

With these polls, Oman is ahead of many Arab States in taking democratic turn that guarantees still better and harmonious relations between the Government and the people.