May 30 2009

One week to go

Published by at 9:58 am under Lebanon

Things have been a little quiet here this week, although in a way that’s not really true. You see the parliamentary elections are only one week away, so there’s been lots of politicking going on.

The political banners are everywhere, with each party differentiated by colour. The Sunni Future Movement is sky blue, Michel Aoun’s FPM is orange, Hizballah is yellow, and Amal is green. The various communist and pseudo-socialist parties are red, although the current government majority (which is pretty neo-con in its outlook) has been using red too so that gets a bit confusing.

We came back from Australia last month to discover that FPM has opened an electorate office just around the corner from our apartment, which is just swell of them. So far we’ve had several late night rallies complete with the propaganda van (a beat up old van with the HUGEST speakers on its roof blaring out martial rousing nationalist music) and fireworks louder than the Hiroshima bomb. Hopefully on election day the drive-by shootings will be kept to a minimum, although if they don’t get rid of that bloody van I might be tempted to do a swing past with my mate’s AK47 on full auto…

It’s quite weird to see polls which are almost purely personality driven. Hizballah is the only party to have released a policy proposal, and even that’s very vague. (I guess that means at least here you don’t get the post-elections media obsession with broken electoral pledges.) There’s been a bit of scaremongering by the ruling majority. But otherwise it’s all essentially a beauty contest. Candidates are either dashingly handsome, or else they’re from rich and powerful families.

On the security side, the elections have been remarkably stable thus far. Sure there’s been lots of punch-ups, and a couple of fatalities (and lets face it, elections are boring if no-one gets killed), but we haven’t had any massive carbombs or rampaging riots. Election day itself could be exciting, and of course when the results are announced it might get a bit loud. We’ve already had lots of celebratory gunfire, but I suspect that we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Needless to say, I think we’ll be staying indoors that day…

One response so far

One Response to “One week to go”

  1. grandadon 31 May 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Makes our elections look tame but they have to be better than the Zimbabwe or Pakistan ones wher there is serious intimidation. Have to admit to being a bit intimidataed at our last Council elections, trouble was I knew most of the leaflet distributors so had to pretend to support all of them.
    Yep, staying indoors and away from the balcony seems to be a sensible idea on election day. I always wonder what happens to the bullets they let off into the sky, must come down sometime and would probably hurt a bit more than a drop of rain.
    Tin hats all round.

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