Syrian children play football in front of an Assad campaign billboard in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)
The world sees no evil
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The campaigns of Syria's first presidential election are winding down ahead of Tuesday's vote, which is expected to see President Bashar Assad coast to a victory that many of his opponents and some Western officials have deemed a farce.Hajjar and Nouri, meanwhile, began a series of media appearances and released promotional videos, while Assad's own campaign, titled "Sawa" (together), has been free of any public addresses or statements by the head of state.Regime opponents have highlighted how Hajjar and Nouri's campaigns have been walking a tightrope, talking about national problems that need to be addressed while praising Assad's leadership. Hajjar has railed more vehemently against corruption, but in the case of both men's campaigns, there is no mention of Assad's personal role in anything negative.Anti-regime activists used the tour to poke further fun at the election, highlighting how large photographs of Assad appear in the various shops where Nouri is pressing the flesh with voters.Merely holding the polls is an achievement, and for a few weeks now, the regime has been able to dominate the news – with images emphasizing that it is holding elections, and that Assad has support, as demonstrated by the turnout during last week's voting by expats.
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