Doha: (The Peninsula: 11/5/2011): Some 13,606 out of 32,662 registered voters turned out to cast their ballots in yesterday’s elections for the fourth term of the Central Municipal Council (CMC).
And amidst low voter turnout (43.3 percent), only one of the four women who contested the crucial polls, managed to win. Sheikha Al Jefairi retained her seat from the Old Airport constituency.
Poll officials said they were taken by surprise by the low voter turnout and added that they would try and look into the reasons.
Sheikh Al Jefairi retained her Old Airport seat with a thumping majority as she polled the highest number of votes at 803, to continue to be the lone female member of the male-dominated CMC for the third time in a row. She was first elected in 2003, unopposed from the same constituency—Old Airport. This time, however, she had a challenger—also a woman—Fatima Al Kuwari, who lost after bagging only 62 votes.
The other two women contenders from two other constituencies faced defeat. Poll officials said Sheikha retained her seat because voters had immense trust in her. Announcing the results at the city police headquarters, poll officials said that in at least eight of the 29 constituencies, more women voted than men.
These constituencies include Maither, New Alrayan, Old Airport, Nasriya, Umm Salal Ali and Al Meraikh.
The largest number of female voters was in Maither (594). The percentage of women voters in Maither was more than 68. The lowest women voter turnout was in Madinat Khalifa (North) — 16.3 percent.
Addressing a news conference, Brigadier-General Majid Ibrahim Al Khulaifi, head of the election supervising committee, said the announcement of the results was delayed a little due to the counting in Maither taking more time due to relatively larger turnout. He told Qatar Radio later that he was surprised by the low voter turnout and said its reasons would be looked into.
Two constituencies (Al Shahaniya and Messaieed) did not witness any polling as the lone candidates in these areas won unopposed. Al Khulaifi said preparations for the poll began six months ago. First elected in March 1999, the CMC goes to the polls every four years.