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Sharjah polls sees strong turnout on second day

posted on 30/01/2016: 1621 views



The second day of voting for the Sharjah Consultative Council (SSC) elections saw strong voter turnout at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club polling station.

Sultan Bin Buti Al Muhairi, Member of the Higher Committee of the Election, announced that for two days of polling, a total of 8,549 voters participated in the nine polling stations in the emirate.

Male voters accounted for 5,099 -- or 59.6 per cent -- while female voters accounted for 3,450, or 40 per cent.

Obaid Al Tunaiji, Head of the Election Committee at Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club polling station, told Gulf News that he expected the numbers to grow as the day progressed. "The centres have the capacity to accommodate large numbers of voters,” he said. "We are the [biggest] centre in terms of number of voters.”

Al Tunaiji said that the process of casting a vote takes less than two minutes for each individual.

With 16 counters and around 37 employees helping voters, the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club polling centre witnessed smooth polling.

The centre also includes police and civil defence operations room, as well as teams from the Ambulance Centre in cases of emergency.

Colonel Mohammad Rashid Bayat, Director of Sharjah Police operations, and member of the Election Committee, told Gulf News that in an event of this nature where there is a large turnout of people, they have all contingency plans in place.

However, he said, everything went off smoothly. "We did not receive any complaints from voters yesterday or today,” he added. "We deployed a number of police patrols to regulate traffic and offer help to people.”

Voters said services provided by the centre were excellent.

Hamda Ali, 37, was proud to be taking part in the voting. "We are honoured to participate in the development of the emirate. This is the least we can do. It is a beautiful thing that we are offered this opportunity to elect people to the council who can convey our issues to the council,” she said.

She was accompanied by her husband and her entire family had voted, she said.

Halima Obaid, 68, came in a wheelchair to vote for the first time in her life. "This is a historic day and we should be part of it,” she said. "I encourage all Emiratis to take part in the elections,” she added.

Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, expressed happiness at the high voter turnout.

He expressed pride in his participation in this outstanding democratic experience.

Mansour Mohammad Nassar, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for SCC Elections, announced that on the first day of voting, a total of 5,001 voters participated in the nine polling stations in the emirate.

Counting the ballots

Ahmad Saeed Al Jarwan, Head of Election Administration Committee, told Gulf News that 70 voting boxes are being used across the nine polling centres; on Friday, 36 of the boxes were used. Voting began at 8am and there was a break during prayer time (Jumaa prayer).

"We resumed voting at 2pm. Each box carries a code and is secured till the day of counting,” Al Jarwan said.

He lauded the enthusiastic response to the first council polls for Sharjah, describing it as a stepping stone to the emirate's democratic experience.

The Election Committee has made arrangements to begin the counting of votes on Sunday, January 31, which is also the last day of voting, at Al Qasimia University.

Al Jarwan said the counting process will be telecast live on various television channels and media outlets of Sharjah Media Corporation. The live transmission will continue throughout the night until the declaration of results, he added.

Citizens in Sharjah have the opportunity to elect representatives of their choice for half of the 42-member council, making themselves part of the decision-making process and governance in the emirate.

A total of 195 candidates, including 43 women, are competing for seats spread across Kalba, Khorfakkan, Dhaid, Dibba Al Hisn, Bataeh, Maliha, Hamriya, and Maddam in an election that is being held under the slogan of ‘Take Part in Decision Making,' following the directives of His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Voters are entitled to choose from candidates in the electoral zone they belong to.

Up to 24,952 people above the age of 21, including 13,794 men and 11,158 women, from across the emirate have registered as voters and will be casting their ballots at any of the nine polling stations over the next two days, between 8am and 8pm. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/sharjah-polls-sees-strong-turnout-on-second-day-1.1662270

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