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Voter’s name missing in Oman

Civil society member calls for independent election commission

Gulf News

Muscat: The time has come to set up an independent election commission in Oman for efficient conduct of the elections, said Khalid Al Haribi, who could not vote as his name was missing from the polling station list,

The chairman of the country’s only independent think-tank Tawasul-Oman, who contested and voted in the last year’s Majlis Al Shura elections, could not cast his vote for the Salalah Municipal Council.

The Election Commission (EC), attached with the Ministry of Interior, had facilitated e-voting for voters from Dhofar and Musadam region who live in Muscat at two polling stations in Muscat on Saturday (today).

“Two weeks ago I checked online and my name was registered as a voter for the municipal council elections but when I went to vote at the polling station in Baushar, the returning officer could not locate my name on the list,” Al Haribi said.

He was turned back. “I could not vote although I had contested and voted in the last Shura elections 14 months ago,” he lamented.

In his opinion it was a huge task of managing 1,475 candidates and about 546,428 voters. “There is lack of coordination therefore such an error,” he believes, adding that two elections in less than 14 months was too tough a task for the officials.

Al Haribi reiterated that the time had come to set up an independent Election Commission. “His Majesty [Sultan Qaboos] had given directives but I suppose it is taking time to set up the body,” he said, adding that the authorities will have to work out to establish impartiality of the independent body.

‘Therefore, he pointed out, will have to see if members of the judiciary are appointed or others.”

The West Virginia University graduate also pointed out, “Probably my name missing from the polling list may not be an isolated case as the data base doesn’t seem to be updated or synchronised,” he said and attributed this to the apathy of officials.

“The public interest is also less,” he added.