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Vying for the elections

©

Latest update : 2008-02-14

Maronite Christians from both sides of the political divide in Lebanon are running for presidency.

Nassib Lahoud- Member of the anti-Syrian coalition
 
Nassib Lahoud is one of the candidates of the anti-Syrian coalition which has a majority of seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Close to the United States, Nassib Lahoud was ambassador in Washington from* 1990 to 1991. Elected to the parliament in 1992, he lost his seat in the 2005 election. Nassib Lahoud is married to a member of the Royal Saudi family.
 
 
Boutros Harb – Member of the anti Syrian coalition
 
Currently lawyer and a member of Parliament, Boutros Harb has a long experience in politics, including several ministerial offices. He is the second candidate of the anti-Syrian coalition. Harb was also candidate for the presidency in 1998 and 2004.
 
 
General Michel Aoun – Leader of the CPL, ally of the Hezbollah party
 
This former commander-in-chief of the Lebanese army is the opposition’s candidate. In the 1990’s he was against the Syrian presence in Lebanon, but since he came back to Lebanon in 2005 the general has set up ties with Syria’s allies.
 
In 1988, General Aoun was briefly the head of one of Lebanon’s the two separate governments, before being driven out by the Syrian army. In 1990, he was forced to leave Lebanon and remain in exile in France. Aoun came back to Lebanon in May 2005, after the murder of Rafiq Hariri and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops. He then signed a political agreement with Hezbollah and became one of the main opponents to the Siniora government and the 14 March movement.
 
 
Michel Suleiman – commander in chief of the Lebanese army
 
Commander-in-chief of the Lebanese army since 1998, Michel Suleiman has succeeded to prevent the army from interfering in the political crisis during the past 3 years. During his mandate, both the Israeli and Syrian armies withdrew from Lebanon.
 
The recent conflict that opposed the army to the terrorist group Fateh El Islam in the Nahr el Bared camp boosted his popularity. But Michel Suleiman’s chances are quite slim, since the constitution bars the military from being elected to the presidency. Suleiman’s election would therefore require an amendment of the Constitution.
 
 
Riyad Salame –Governor of the Lebanese Central Bank
 
Riyad Salame has been the governor of the Lebanese Central Bank since 1993. Under his management the Lebanese pound was stabilized and the country’s foreign currency reserves have increased despite the political crisis. But, here again, the constitution limits the candidate’s chances, since it blocks officials of his rank from being elected president.
 
 
Robert Ghanem – Member of the anti syrian coalition 
 
Lawyer and MP Robert Ghanem has already run for the presidency in 2004. Ghanem, who was Education Minister in 1995, has recently seen his chances for election increase due to his image. He is viewed as a consensual candidate in a divided Lebanon.

Date created : 2007-10-16

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