Women win Oman mu­nic­i­pal­ity seats

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

MUS­CAT: Seven women were elected to Oman mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils, ac­cord­ing to vote re­sults re­leased yes­ter­day by the interior ministry, a day af­ter the Gulf sul­tanate held its sec­ond ever lo­cal elec­tion. Vot­ers across the coun­try went to the polls on Sun­day to choose 202 coun­cilors from among 731 can­di­dates for 11 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing the cap­i­tal Mus­cat. There were 23 women can­di­dates, and seven won seats on lo­cal coun­cils - three more than in the pre­vi­ous elec­tion.

In 1994, Oman be­came the first Gulf monar­chy to give the vote to women and in 2011, Sul­tan Qa­boos de­creed that elec­tions be held for mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils. Oman has made ten­ta­tive steps in re­cent years to­wards re­form, al­though po­lit­i­cal par­ties remain banned. Coun­cilors, who serve for four years, have lim­ited pow­ers as au­thor­i­ties des­ig­nate the chair­men and deputy chair­men for the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, and not from those elected.

The interior ministry said that 39.85 per­cent of the 623,224 regis­tered vot­ers cast their bal­lots in the elec­tion. Oman has a pop­u­la­tion of 4.5 mil­lion, 46 per­cent of whom are for­eign­ers. At the na­tional level, Oman has a con­sul­ta­tive coun­cil with lim­ited pow­ers, the 85-mem­ber Ma­jlis Al-Shura. In 2011, Sul­tan Qa­boos slightly ex­panded the pow­ers of the Ma­jlis Al-Shura af­ter un­prece­dented social un­rest when the nor­mally quiet na­tion be­came caught up in protests which swept across the Arab world.

— AFP

AL-SUWAYQ, Oman : An Omani woman casts her bal­lot for the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions at a polling sta­tion in north­east­ern Oman on Sun­day.

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