Khalid Al Mawali. Image Credit: Supplied

Muscat: A young entrepreneur from Batinah, the region that witnessed the most troubles during protests earlier this year, became the first democratically elected president of Oman’s Majlis Asshura today.

Khalid Al Mawali, who won the Shura elections from Wadi Maawil on October 15, won a two-way contest with another businessman from the eastern region – Saad Suhail Bahwan Al Mukhaini.

The second round of elections had necessitated when none of the three candidates managed to get more than 50 per cent of the votes in the 84-seat house.

The second round contest left only two businessmen in the race. Al Mawali, 35, polled 50 votes eight more than minimum required 42 while Saad Bahwan got only 33 votes. Only 83 votes as one member did not attend the first session.

According to an analyst Al Mawali’s experience in both government and private sector clinched the vote for him in the second round. “In his speech to the Shura members Mawali made his experience in both sectors clear and that seems to have clinched more votes for him,” Khalid Al Haribi, Chairman of Tawasul, Oman’s only independent think tank, told Gulf News.

Most elected members said that qualifications and credentials were the criteria for electing the chairman of the house, which was the first time in Oman’s Shura history of two decades.

However, a protester turned Shura member slightly differed. “The groups of different region seems to be the deciding factor,” Taqa representative Salim Bin Mohammed Al Mashani, who was imprisoned after his arrest during Salalah protests, told Arabic electronic media.

Al Mawali is the Chairman of the Oman Oryx Leasing Company and has served in various government departments, including tourism. He did his Bachelors studies in the US and Masters in the UK.

Meanwhile, Salim Ali Al Ka'bi polled 53 votes to become the first Deputy chairman and the second deputy chairman Abdullah Khalifa Al Maj'ali got 49 votes as each of the 84 members cast two votes to elect two deputy chairman.