President Aoun’s mandate ends today yet the Lebanese parliament hasn’t yet elected a new president. We’ve already had four sessions where the candidate who got the most votes was Michel Moawad (42), knowing that two-thirds of the Lebanese parliament is required to elect a president in the first round, and a simply majority in the second round.
We currently have two types of candidates, the “political” candidates if I may call them so and other candidates who are not endorsed by any party and decided to run on their own.
Starting with the “political” candidates who didn’t declare their candidacy officially, and I’ll keep their resumes brief:
1- Michel Moawad:
Moawad is the son of former Lebanese President René Moawad, who was assassinated on the November 22nd 1989. He founded and currently leads the Independence, a pro March-14 movement, as well as the the René Moawad Foundation and is a member of the Maronite Foundation in the World. Moawad considers himself a “Sovereigntist, Reformist, Freedom-Advocate and also a Kebbe Addict” as per his Insta.
2- Sleiman Frangieh
Frangieh is the grandson of a Lebanese president (Sleiman Frangieh) and is currently the leader of the Marada party. He’s aligned with the March 8 parties and stands as their favorite candidate at the moment. Frangieh entered parliament in 1991 and has held several cabinets between 1990 and 2005 including Minister of Public Health on 3 occasions. There’s also no mention of his presidential program on his [website].
3- Army General Joseph Aoun:
Joseph Aoun joined the Military Academy back in 1983 and as a cadet and was appointed as the Armed Forces Commander in 2017. If elected president, Aoun would be the fourth consecutive Army general to become president in the past 20 years. Aoun has studied Political Science as well as Military Science and majored in international affairs.
He is widely seen as a potential consensus presidential candidate among all parties.
4- Naji el Boustany:
Naji el Boustany is a lawyer and an experienced Lebanese politician. He’s been in politics for the past 40 years and served in past government as a Defense minister and Culture Minister. There’s also no mention of his presidential program anywhere but he is seen as a consensus candidate due to his connections with all parties.
Other candidates whose names are circulating included Ziad Baroud and Salah Hnein.
Now that we’ve covered the “political” candidates, here’s a list of candidates so far not affiliated to any political party and who have officially declared their candidacy. Here’s a quick glimpse of those that I heard of so far:
1- Ziad Hayek:
When I first saw his name, it rang a bell as I remembered he was nominated to the Presidency of the World Bank back in 2019. I looked him up online and Hayek boasts an impressive resume with over “40 years of experience in Public Policy, Economic Policy, International Development, Investment Banking, International Finance, Structured Finance, Project Finance, Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance. He is currently the President of the World Association of PPP Units and Professionals; Vice-Chair of the Working Party on PPP of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; Managing Partner of Hayek Associates LLC; and ex-Secretary General of Lebanon’s High Council for Privatization and PPP.
Hayek is also member of the Board of Trustees of USEK University, the Investment Committee of YMCA World Alliance, and the governing boards of several NGOs on behalf of the Carlos Slim Foundation.” [Source]
I’m not quite familiar with his political aspirations or any potential affiliations and I haven’t seen him on any talk shows so far. He did give Naharnet an interview, where he stated that two of his favorite presidents are Fouad Chehab & Camille Chamoun and his political/economic idol is Angela Merkel which is a good sign 😀.
2- Tracy Chamoun
Tracy is a 61-year old Lebanese author, diplomat and served as the Lebanese ambassador to Jordan between 2017 and 2020. Chamoun resigned after the Beirut Port explosion and became quite vocal against the ruling political parties. Tracy Chamoun is the grand-daughter of former President Camille Chamoun and one of two surviving children of Dany Chamoun, who was assassinated in 1990.
Chamoun is only the second woman to run for presidency in Lebanon’s history, after Nadine Moussa in 2014, and the first woman to found a political party in the Arab World called “Liberal Democrats Party of Lebanon”. She hasn’t been endorsed by Al Ahrar Party or any other political party and has been very critical of all traditional parties in Lebanon.
3- May Rihani
May Rihani has been in the United States for the past 45 years, and is an expert in international development. She’s originally from the village of Freikeh in Matn, and is the daughter of Albert Rihani and the niece of Ameen Rihani, both prominent Lebanese-American literary figures.
Here’s a glimpse of her profile as shared by L’Orient Le Jour:
Based in the United States for 45 years, May Rihani described herself in a promotional pamphlet as an expert in international development with decades of experience. She served as director for the Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace at the University of Maryland from 2016 to 2020. From 2008 to 2010, she served as co-chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative. Rihani has nine published books and is the director of the World Lebanese Cultural Union, a DC-based organization representing the Lebanese diaspora. She has also worked with the René Moawad Foundation, a self-described “development” NGO headed by independent Zgharta MP Michel Moawad.
4- Clarence Kattini
Kattini is a Beirut-based lawyer and the first non-Maronite candidate for the Lebanese Presidency. His campaign is based on power rotation between sects in Lebanon, as he believes it would promote a better collaboration between all parties and equality among Lebanese.
5- Elie Yachouii:
Dr. Elie Yachoui (ايلي يشوعي) announced his candidacy three weeks ago. Yachoui has a doctorate in General Policy and Organization‘s Strategies and a doctorat d’Etat in Economics from University of Paris IX-Dauphine and is the dean of the School of Business Administration and Economics at Lebanon’s Notre Dame University. He is also member of the Board of the National Council of Scientific Research in Lebanon and has presided since 2005 over the National Coalition for Economic Reform in Lebanon.
Here’s what he wants as a “New Lebanon”:
“We strive to preserve Lebanon as a model of freedom and democracy. We work to promote peace, neutrality, freedom of religion, and free speech. We support economic liberty and political independence. To strengthen and expand the US- Lebanon relationship in ways that enhances the security of both countries. To educate and guide decision-makers on the bonds that unite the two countries and matters of interest to the Lebanese American Community.
These are the 5 “serious” candidates I found so far, there are other candidates that seem to be running just for fun such as Bechara Abi Younes who’s an interior Designer & Chairman of the Environmental Rescue Party, Milad Abou Malhab and Elias Tawileh.
If I missed any, please do share.