After finally gaining its independence, the Republic of Lebanon chose the parliamentary democratic republic within the overall framework of confessionalism as the country’s ruling system.
Thus, the president was considered the highest rank in the country. Moreover, over the past 77 years, Lebanon was officially ruled by 13 presidents who more or less tried their best to serve their country and are responsible for the state of Lebanon today.
Sheikh Bechara el Khoury was the first president in the history of Lebanon and was one of the prominent figures in the fight of gaining Lebanon’s independence. Khoury served his country well as Lebanon’s President from October 24, 1945, to September 18, 1952. Moreover, not only did he serve in many ministerial posts, but he also founded the Lebanese Constitutional Bloc in 1932.
Born a Maronite Christian in Rechmaya, Khoury always had a mind for politics and law. He studied Law in Paris where he worked as a lawyer before returning home. He is also greatly remembered locally for his part in drawing up the National Pact. A pact uniting Christian and Muslim leaders and keeping the peace and harmony between both.
Camille Shamoun served as the country’s second president after Sheikh Bechara. Since he didn’t win the first 1948 elections, Chamoun organized a Parliamentary opposition. He was then elected to succeed Khoury in 1952. Thus, he served as a president of the Republic of Lebanon from September 23, 1952, until he was forced to resign his position on September 22 due to corruption allegations.
Furthermore, during his term, Shamoun reorganized governmental departments in an attempt to realize a more efficient administration while giving the press full freedom.
Moreover, during the 1975 civil war, Shamoun was considered one of the most prominent leaders. He was highly involved in defending Lebanon against Syrian intervention all while holding a succession of ministerial posts.
Known for his honesty and integrity, Chehab brought a sense of stability to the government and to the Lebanese nation during his first term of presidency. He was elected by the Lebanese citizens twice, once in 1958 and a second time in 1964.
Unlike the precedent presidents, Chehab had a military background. He gained his military education in Syria and France since he served with the French mandatory forces in Syria after World War I.
Then, in 1945 Chehab rose to the rank of commander in the Lebanese army. Furthermore, he was known to keep the balance between the myriad sectarian, economic, and geographic interests that filled the Lebanese political scene during both of his terms.
Born a Lebanese Maronite and holding a law degree from St Joseph University, Charles Helou was elected president in 1964. Moreover, Helou was not only engaged in many business projects that served his nation well, but he also participated in the team that formed the Lebanese Phalanges Party.
Even before serving his term, Helou worked hard towards strengthening the bonds between Lebanon and other countries. Furthermore, in 1947 he represented Lebanon in the Vatican as an ambassador.
Sulaymān Qabalān Franjiyyah was not only the leader of one of Lebanon’s powerful Maronite Christian clans but also the president of Lebanon in 1970. His ideas and plans are commonly now viewed as one of the main reasons behind the eruption of the civil war taking place during the 1970s.
Élias Youssef Sarkis served as the Lebanese president from 1976 to 1982. He was elected during the civil war and failed to create any form of agreement between Muslims and Christians. Though he served his term fully, Sarkis was regarded as the “one who was in office but not in power”.
Though elected in 1982, Bachir was assassinated before even starting to serve his term as president.
Amine Pierre Gemayel
After a week of his brother’s death, Amine Pierre Gemayel was elected president of the Republic of Lebanon. He was known for his unfondness toward other religions in Lebanon as well as his inability to temper the mounting violence between sectors during the war.
René Anis Moawad was elected in 1989 where he only served for 17 days before getting assassinated during the civil war.
Elected in 1989, Elias Hrawi served as the present of the republic of Lebanon for nine years. He was one of the main forces that brought stability to the country after its prolonged civil war and the 1982–85 Israel occupation. Moreover, he was also one of the people who set up the 1989 Al-Taʾif accord.
He also signed a treaty of cooperation with Syria. A decision that faced a lot of national disagreement. Moreover, even though he was successful in dismantling many militias that used to occupy the country, he failed to do the same with Hezbollah.
Émile Jamil Lahoud was a president with a military background who served his country in this rank from 1998 to 2007. He entered the Lebanese military academy as a naval cadet in 1956. After graduating, he started rising through the ranks until he became a general and commander of the Lebanese armed forces.
He used his Syrian connection to help in restoring some stability to the country. However, he didn’t gain public support due to agreeing to keep the Syrian military on the Lebanese grounds.
Michl Suleiman was another Lebanese president with a military background. He served his term from 2008 to 2014. Moreover, even before his election, Suleiman was highly regarded as an esteemed army commander by the public. He is also known for keeping the military united and neutral during the different political turmoil and sectarian violence.
During his term, he protected the country’s independence, unity, and territorial integrity all while doing his best to provide security and favorable conditions for the country’s economic and social growth.
Michel Aoun is the current president of Lebanon. Aoun used to be prime minister before his residency term. Moreover, he served as Head of Eighth Defense Brigade, brigadier-general and military chief of staff during the 1980s.
Aoun policies are leaving a lot to be desired as the economic and social state of Lebanon continues to take a turn for the worse with each passing day.
Amin Gemayel | president of Lebanon. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Amin-Gemayel
Aoun, Michel (1935–) | Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Encyclopedia. https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/aoun-michel-1935
Chepkemoi, J. (2019, April 11). Presidents Of Lebanon Since Independence. WorldAtlas. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/presidents-of-lebanon-since-independence-from-france.html
Elias Hrawi | president of Lebanon. (2020, July 3). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Elias-Hrawi
Émile Lahoud | president of Lebanon. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Emile-Lahoud
Suleiman, Michel | Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/suleiman-michel