The granddaughter of a former Lebanese president and ex-diplomat announced her candidacy in the cash-strapped country’s upcoming presidential elections on Monday on a platform critical of the Iran-backed Hezbollah party.
The country’s political woes are compounded by its crippling economic crisis, which the World Bank says is the world’s worst in more than a century. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value against the dollar, with three quarters of its population living in poverty.
Tracy Chamoun, 61, the granddaughter of late former President Camille Chamoun, has called for key reforms to save Lebanon’s comatose economy and restore trust with international donors. But above all, she criticized Hezbollah’s influential role in politics and security, its weapons and its impact on Lebanese relations with Arab countries.
“Lebanon cannot continue without its independence and sovereignty and without a clear defense strategy,” Chamoun told a press conference in Beirut. “Lebanon cannot be ruled by a single group, and its decisions related to peace and war can only be made through its institutions.”
Chamoun comes from an important Christian political family. His grandfather, the late president, founded the right-wing Liberal National Party. She is also the daughter of Dany Chamoun, who led the party’s “Tigers” militia during the Lebanese civil war from 1975 to 1990.
Five gunmen murdered his father in 1990 alongside his second wife Ingrid and their 5 and 7 year old sons. The couple’s youngest daughter, 11 months, survived. Chamoun, then 30, lived in London.
Chamoun served as Lebanon’s ambassador to Jordan from 2017 until her resignation in August 2020, days after the Beirut port explosion killed more than 200 people and injured more than 6,000 others.
Chamoun would be the second woman to officially announce her candidacy for the Lebanese presidential election, after lawyer and civil society activist Nadine Moussa in 2014.
The term of outgoing president, retired military general and Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun, ends on October 31.