Granddaughter of former Lebanese leader launches bid for presidency

Tracy Chamoun is the granddaughter of former president Camille Chamoun

Tracy Chamoun announces her candidacy in Lebanon's coming presidential election, in Beirut, on Monday.  AP
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The granddaughter of a former president of Lebanon has announced her bid for the country’s coming presidential elections.

Tracy Chamoun, 61, said on Monday that major reforms were badly needed to rescue Lebanon’s economy and re-establish trust with international donors and creditors.

Her grandfather, Camille Chamoun, served as president from 1952 to 1958 and held various positions until his death in 1987.

"I have a new vision for the republic, one that can offer solutions to the economic, political and social problems," plaguing the state, AFP quoted Ms Chamoun as saying.

The country’s political woes are being compounded by its crippling economic crisis, which the World Bank says is one of the worst globally in more than a century.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its value against the dollar, with three-quarters of its population living in poverty.

Ms Chamoun also criticised the hardline Hezbollah group, accusing it of adversely affecting Lebanon's security and relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, AP reported.

“Lebanon cannot continue without its independence and sovereignty and without a clear defence strategy,” Ms Chamoun said at the press conference in Beirut.

“Lebanon cannot be ruled by one group, and its decisions related to peace and war can only be done through its institutions.”

Ms Chamoun comes from a prominent Christian political family. Her grandfather founded the right-wing National Liberal Party.

She is also the daughter of Dany Chamoun, who led the party’s “Tigers” militia in the Lebanese civil war, which went on from 1975 until 1990.

Five gunmen assassinated her father in 1990 along with his second wife Ingrid, and their sons, aged 5 and 7. The couple’s youngest daughter, who was 11 months old, survived. Tracy Chamoun, then 30, was living in London.

Ms Chamoun was Lebanon’s ambassador to Jordan from 2017 until her resignation in August 2020, days after the Beirut Port explosion that killed more than 200 people and wounded over 6,000 others.

She would be the second woman to officially announce her candidacy in Lebanon's presidential elections, after lawyer and civil society activist Nadine Moussa in 2014.

The term of the incumbent president, retired military general and Hezbollah-allied Michel Aoun, ends on October 31.

It took Lebanon's bitterly divided politicians more than two years to elect Aoun in 2016 ― a delay the country can ill-afford this time around in light of an unprecedented economic crisis.

Despite mounting woes, parliament has rarely met since it was elected in May.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 1:41 PM
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