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WorldMiddle EastFrom the IMF to a presidential candidate. Who is Jihad Azour?

From the IMF to a presidential candidate. Who is Jihad Azour?

Although the Lebanese street has become accustomed to this news, the emergence of a new candidate this time outside the usual circle, and who occupies a prestigious international position, has changed this usual scene.

The new candidate is the director of the Middle East and Central Asia department of the International Monetary Fund, Dr. Jihad Azour.

Who is Jihad Azour?

Jihad Azour was born on May 4, 1966. He holds a doctorate in international finance and a postgraduate degree in international economics and finance, both from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. He worked as a partner at AM&F Consulting, and as a management consultant at McKinsey, Booz & Company in Paris between 1989 and 1993. He held the position of senior project manager at the United Nations Development Program between 1999 and 2004. He served as Minister of Finance of the Lebanese Republic between July 2005 and July 2008. He served as Vice President and Senior Executive Advisor at McKinsey, Booz & Company between 2009 and 2012. He served as Director and Managing Partner at Inventis Partners, a consulting and investment firm, between 2013 and 2016. He has held the position of Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund since 2017.

Fund appointment and position

After Lebanese opposition parties and the main independent Christian parties announced their support for Azour’s candidacy for the country’s presidency to fill the presidential vacuum that has arisen since the end of Michel Aoun’s mandate at the end of last October, the director of IMF media, Julie Kozak, said Azour went on temporary leave, to avoid any conflict of interest after his appointment.

Opposition parties promoted Azour’s candidacy because he comes from a business and financial background, which could enable him to help Lebanon out of the worst economic crisis in its recent history, using his extensive network of Arab and international relations.

As expected, the appointment was met with a strong backlash from the opposition team against him, claiming he was involved in a correspondence with Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh, which led to the accumulation of debts on the Lebanese state.

The Lebanese street awaits the fate of the session, and whether or not it attends the election of the President of the Republic, after the competition was limited between two candidates, namely Azour, and the candidate of the Shiite duo Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, former minister Suleiman Franjieh.

However, analysts see from some readings and indications that the president’s election next week will be unlikely.

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