The granddaughter of a former Lebanese President on Monday announced her bid for the upcoming presidential elections on a platform critical of the Iran-backed Hezbollah organization, reports The Associated Press.
Tracy Chamoun, 61, has not yet received a formal endorsement from any of Lebanon's ruling parties in parliament, whose 128 legislators are tasked with voting for the country's president.
Chamoun, granddaughter of late former president Camille Chamoun, called for key reforms to rescue Lebanon's comatose economy and reestablish trust with international donors. She especially criticized Hezbollah’s influential role in politics and security, its arms and its impact on Lebanese relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
“Lebanon cannot continue without its independence and sovereignty and without a clear defense strategy,” Chamoun said at a press conference in Beirut, according to AP.
“Lebanon cannot be ruled by one group, and its decisions related to peace and war can only be done through its institutions,” she added.
Chamoun comes from a prominent Christian political family. Her grandfather, the late president, founded the right-wing National Liberal Party. She is 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 alongside his second wife Ingrid, and their sons, ages 5 and 7. The couple's youngest daughter, 11 months old, survived. Tracy Chamoun, then 30, was living in London.
She served as Lebanon’s ambassador to Jordan from 2017 until her resignation in August 2020, days after the Beirut Port explosion that killed over 200 people.
Hezbollah’s political arm is very influential in Lebanon. Hezbollah and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member Lebanese parliament in an election held in May of 2018.
The Iranian-backed group has been included in past Lebanese cabinets.
The term of the incumbent president, retired military general and Hezbollah-allied Michel Aoun, ends on October 31.