Michel Naim Aoun (Arabic: ميشال نعيم عون, Arabic pronunciation: [miːʃeːl ʕo.uːn]; born 18 February 1935) is a Lebanese politician who is the current President of Lebanon. He was elected president on 31 October 2016 on the 46th electoral session of the Lebanese parliament, breaking a 29-month deadlock. He is a Maronite Christian and the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement.
Michel Aoun was appointed as Lebanese Army General (Head of the Lebanese Army) in 1984.From 22 September 1988 to 13 October 1990, Aoun served as Prime Minister after being appointed by the then departing Lebanese President Amine Gemayel as head of the Lebanese government and interim prime minister. The controversial decision saw the rise of two rival governments contending for power at that time, one by General Aoun and the other by prime minister Selim Hoss.
Aoun declared a "War of Liberation" against Syrian army forces on 14 March 1989. On 13 October 1990, the Syrian forces invaded Aoun strongholds including the presidential palace in Baabda, killing hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and civilians. Aoun fled to the French Embassy in Beirut, and was later granted asylum in France where he lived in exile for 15 years from 1990 to 2005.
Aoun returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005, eleven days after the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. In 2006, as head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah, starting a major alliance that has remained ever since. Despite the bloody history with the regime of Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar al-Assad, Aoun visited Syria in 2009.
Aoun was elected a Member of Parliament where he headed the Free Patriotic Movement and the broader parliamentary coalition called Reform and Change Bloc, which had 27 representatives making it the second biggest bloc in the Lebanese parliament. He presented his candidacy for presidential election with main rival candidates being Samir Geagea, Suleiman Frangieh and Henri Helou. After his election, he was sworn in as President of Lebanon in succession to President Michel Suleiman.