Mark Daou shocked the Lebanese political establishment when he unseated establishment-politician Talal Arslan for one of the Druze seats in Aley. Previously Daou was an academic and an activist, who participated in the historic October 2019 protests against political corruption. In November 2019, he co-founded the Taqaddom (Progress) Party, a new secular and reform-oriented political party.
Lebanon currently faces numerous challenges to its stability. The two that fall on top of the agenda currently are the economic crisis and vacant presidency. The World Bank describes its economic crisis as possibly the worst the world has seen since the mid-19th century. Last April, Lebanon reached a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund to rehabilitate its economy. However, the government and parliament have been unable to implement the mandated reforms to unlock such assistance. In October 2022, Lebanon's presidency fell vacant. Since then, Lebanese parliamentarians have been unable to agree on a consensus candidate to elect to the presidency.
Amidst these and other challenges, Daou travelled to the US for meetings with the US government, Congress, international organizations, and the Lebanese American diaspora. On February 1, the American Task Force on Lebanon hosted him at their headquarters in Washington, DC where this interview was recorded.
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