Nadine Moussa has officially become the first Lebanese woman to run for president in Lebanon, despite the fact that observers say she has little chance of winning the election or of challenging the patriarchal politics in a country governed by an entrenched, sectarian and feudal regime that is dominated by political interests.
Moussa’s candidacy, which she says is motivated by “the need for radical change”, sets a precedent, as it is the first time in Lebanon’s history that a woman will run for president since the country gained its independence from France in 1943. She seeks to be the first female president after 12 consecutive male presidents.
Lebanese MPs will meet on Wednesday in their first public session regarding the election of a new president to succeed the current president, Michel Suleiman, whose term ends on 25 May.
Moussa is a lawyer, as well as a social and political activist, who claims to be secular and “not affiliated to any sectarian leader or any foreign country”, as she introduces herself.
She officially announced her candidacy for president during a press conference in Beirut on Tuesday, saying that she is “against the rampant corruption, the existing sectarian system, the political inheritance and the country’s dependence on the external world”.
Moussa also explained that her electoral programme is based on “a clear vision for Lebanon” that aims to reinforce Lebanon’s national sovereignty over all the Lebanese territories, as well as establish a state of law and social justice.
She added that she plans to “invest in Lebanon’s natural resources, such as gas and water, in order to enrich the citizens’ lives,” stressing at the same time to “take pride in the cultural, religious and historical diversities in Lebanon”.
It is worth mentioning that the position of president in Lebanon was introduced for the first time in 1926 under the French mandate in Lebanon, and it was formally agreed in the unwritten National Pact of 1943 that the position must always be occupied by a Maronite Christian, with the official term of office running for six years.