Lebanese go to the polls this Saturday in one of the Middle East’s most closely watched elections– meaning it’s one of the few in the region that’s not completely predetermined by dictatorial rule.

All the major powers have a stake in the outcome. The United States has sent both Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to this country in the space of less than a month. The Iranians, the Saudis, the Egyptians and the Europeans are also looking for outcomes that suit their interests.

The streets are full of candidates faces:

But in addition to the international community, Lebanese manufacturers and advertising companies are also looking to profit from the polls. These include Diamony Lingerie, which mimicked politicians’ back-to-back image strategy:

Here’s a closer view:

Also getting in on the action: Bob’s Dinner, a new Lebanese franchise restaurtant:

In some cases, the politicians seemed to be in direct competition with marketers:

And in other cases, the line between consumerism and politics was completely blurred with some parties employing models to sell their campaigns:

Meanwhile, other companies used the elections to their advantage, doing their best to fool consumers into thinking they were selling politics.

For example, while stuck in traffic on the highway yesterday, a man passing out fliers handed this to me through my passenger window. The first line in bold type reads: “Vote for the best”

Inside, the text resembles a political manifesto:

But the reforms and changes it calls for are nothing more than a refurbishing of home furniture.

On the back of the flier, this furniture repair company lists its phone number and location:

Lebanese on both sides of the election battle are predicting dire consequences if “the other side” wins. On the one hand, the fear is Iranian domination. The pro-Western alliance says if Hezbollah’s coalition wins, Lebanon will face international isolation and war. Meanwhile the anti-U.S. alliance says that if they lose, Lebanon will continue to be a puppet state enslaved by Israel and corrupt business interests. Either way, the private sector seems quite confident going into the poll.

  1. Yes Angie, it sure is–more to post on the cost of these campaigns, quite an expensive election when considering Lebanon is the size of a medium size U.S. city..

  2. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying your blog ad your witty comments.
    I feel that there is so much raw material in Lebanon for posts, I wish you could post on a daily basis!

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