Oman holds first municipal elections in reform bid after unrest

Oman says more than 1,400 candidates are competing in the Gulf nation's first municipal elections, a concession following Arab Spring-linked unrest.

Oman has seen sporadic protests demanding more job opportunities and a greater public voice in the tightly run sultanate.

The official Omani News Agency says the candidates, including 46 women, are vying Saturday for 192 seats on local councils that have no direct powers but will serve in an advisory role.

Gulf Arab leaders have managed to ride out the region's upheavals, but have promised some limited reforms and offered financial incentives such as expanding state jobs.

Strategic Oman shares control of the Strait of Hormuz with Iran. The narrow waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is the route for one-fifth of the world's crude oil.