Michel Aoun was appointed as Lebanese Army General 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.
On 12 April 2017 he froze legislative session for 1 month.
A Maronite Christian, Michel Aoun, with family origins from Haret el Maknouniye Jezzine, was born in the mixed Christian and Shiite suburb of Haret Hreik, to the south of Beirut. He finished his secondary education at the College Des Frères Furn Al Chebbak in 1955 and enrolled in the Military Academy as a cadet officer. Three years later, he graduated as an artillery officer in the Lebanese Army. Michel Aoun is married to Nadia Al Chami. They have three daughters: Mireille, Claudine and Chantal.
In September 1983 during the Lebanese Civil War, Aoun's predominantly but not exclusively Christian 8th Mechanized Infantry Battalion fought the pro-Syrian Shia, Druze and Palestinian militias at the battle of Souq el Gharb.
On 22 September 1988, the outgoing President Amine Gemayel, dismissed the civilian administration of Prime Minister Selim Hoss and appointed a six-member interim military government (a step prescribed by the Lebanese Constitution should there be no election of a President, as was the case at the time), composed of three Christians and three Muslims, though the Muslims refused to serve. Backed by Syria, Al-Hoss declared his dismissal invalid. Two governments emerged (one civilian and mainly Muslim in West Beirut, headed by Al-Hoss, the other, military and mainly Christian, in East Beirut, led by Michel Aoun acting as Prime Minister).
Gemayel's move was of questionable validity, as it violated the unwritten National Pact of 1943, which reserved the position of prime minister for a Sunni Muslim. Gemayel argued, however, that as the National Pact also reserved the presidency for a Maronite Christian, and as the Prime Minister assumes the powers and duties of the President in the event of a vacancy, it would be proper to fill that office temporarily with a Maronite. Gemayel referenced the historical precedent of 1952, when General Fouad Chehab, a Christian Maronite, was appointed as prime minister of a transition government following the resignation of President Bechara El Khoury.
headed by Dany Chamoun. He also received the support of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein.
On 14 March 1989, after a Syrian attack on the Baabda presidential palace and on the Lebanese Ministry of Defense in Yarze, Aoun declared a liberation war against the Syrian army, which was better armed than the Lebanese forces (some 40,000 Syrian troops were in Lebanon at the time). The Syrians were supported by the US government led by George H. W. Bush in exchange for their support against Saddam Hussein. Over the next few months Aoun's army and the Syrians exchanged artillery fire in Beirut and other areas. During this period Aoun became critical of American support for Syria and moved closer to Iraq, accepting arms supplies from Saddam Hussein.
In October 1989, Lebanese National Assembly members met to draw up the Taif Accord in an attempt to settle the Lebanese conflict. This accord was later revealed to have been prepared two years earlier by Rafic Hariri. Aoun refused to attend, denounced the politicians who did so as traitors and issued a decree dissolving the assembly. After it was signed, Aoun denounced the Accord for not appointing a real date for the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon. After they signed the Taif Accord (named Taif because it was made in Taif, Saudi Arabia, with the benediction of the USA), the assembly met to elect René Moawad as President in November. Despite heavy-handed pressure from Syria to dismiss Aoun, Moawad refused to do so; his presidency lasted just 17 days before he was assassinated. Elias Hrawi was elected in his place. After assuming office as president, Hrawi appointed General Émile Lahoud as commander of the army and ordered Aoun out of the Presidential Palace. Aoun rejected his dismissal.
The Gulf War had its repercussions on Aoun's government. Aoun had asked for help and the only unconditional help he received was from Saadam Hussein, who until 1989 was an ally of the West. On August 2, 1990, Hussein launched his invasion of Kuwait and the US made a coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. President Hafez al-Assad of Syria suddenly sided with his arch enemy, the United States. In return, the United States agreed to support Syria's interests in Lebanon. On the evening of 12 October, while giving a public speech, Aoun survived an assassination attempt by a lone shooter in the crowd. On 13 October, with American permission, Syrian forces attacked the presidential palace in Baabda, where Aoun was preparing for his defense. Not very long after the attacks, Aoun was asked to leave Lebanon with the full support of the French Ambassador. Ten months later Aoun went into exile in France, where he led a political party, the Free Patriotic Movement. In 2003, an avowed Aounist candidate, Hikmat Deeb, came surprisingly close to winning a key by-election in the Baabda–Aley constituency against the main candidate, Henri Helou.
Aoun ended 15 years of exile when he returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005, 11 days after the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon after the assassination of Rafic Hariri on 14 February 2005. Hariri's killing was a catalyst for dramatic political change in Lebanon. The massive protests of the Cedar Revolution helped achieve the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, and a change in governments, paving the way for return of Aoun to Lebanon. Aoun held a short press conference at Beirut International Airport before heading with a convoy of loyalists and journalists to the "Grave of the Un-named Soldiers and Martyrs". After praying and expressing his gratitude and blessing to the people, he went on to the grave site of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Then, he visited Samir Geagea who was still in jail for 11 years. His journey continued to Martyr's Square where he was greeted by supporters of the Cedar Revolution.
Since his arrival, Aoun has moved into a new home in Lebanon's Rabieh district, where he was visited on 8 May by a large delegation from the disbanded Lebanese Front (LF), who were among Aoun's former enemies. Aoun and Sitrida Geagea, wife of the imprisoned LF leader Samir Geagea (since released), publicly reconciled. Aoun later visited Geagea in prison (he was the first of all political leaders to do so) and called for his release. Other prominent visitors that day and the next included National Liberal Party leader Dory Chamoun, Solange Gemayel, Nayla Moawad (widow of assassinated President René Moawad), and opposition MP Boutros Harb. Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir of the Maronite community sent a delegation to welcome him, and even the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah Party sent a delegation.
In the parliamentary election at the end of May 2005, the political leaders of the Syrian occupation imposed to run the elections with the 2000 electoral law... a law that prevents Christians to elect 70% of their 64 deputies into the Lebanese parliament. Aoun opposed this decision and was in result fought by a quadruple alliance grouping Anti-Syrian (the Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party, the Lebanese Forces and some other parties) and Pro-Syrian (Amal and Hezbollah) main political parties against the Free Patriotic Movement headed by General Michel Aoun. In this context, Aoun surprised many observers by entering into electoral alliances with a number of former opponents, including some pro-Syrian politicians like Michel Murr and Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. Critics argue that this law, implemented by Syrian intelligence chief Ghazi Kanaan and Rafik Hariri, does not provide for a real popular representation and marginalizes many communities especially the Christian one throughout the country..
In the third round of voting, Aoun's party, the Free Patriotic Movement, made a strong showing, winning 21 of the 58 seats contested in that round, including almost all of the seats in the Christian heartland of Mount Lebanon. Aoun also won major Christian districts such as Zahle and Metn. Aoun himself was elected to the National Assembly. In the fourth and final round, however, the FPM failed to win any seats in Northern Lebanon due mainly to the 2000 electoral law that gave the pro Hariri Muslim community of Tripoli an easy veto over any Christian candidate in its electoral district, thus falling short of its objective of holding the balance of power between the main "anti-Syrian" opposition coalition (formerly known to be Syria's strong allies) led by Sa'ad Hariri (which won an absolute majority) and the Shiite-dominated Amal-Hezbollah alliance.
The FPM won 21 seats in the parliament, and formed the largest Christian bloc in Lebanon, and second biggest bloc in the Lebanese Parliament.
In 2006, Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah met in Mar Mikhayel Church, Chiyah, a venue that symbolizes Christian-Muslim coexistence as the Church, located in the heart of the mainly Muslim Beirut southern suburb, was preserved throughout the wars. The FPM signed a memorandum of understanding with Hezbollah organizing their relation and discussing Hezbollah's disarmament given some conditions. The second and third conditions for disarmament were the return of Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails and the elaboration of a defense strategy to protect Lebanon from the Israeli threat. The agreement also discussed the importance of having normal diplomatic relations with Syria and the request for information about the Lebanese political prisoners in Syria and the return of all political prisoners and diaspora in Israel. After this event, Aoun and his party became part of the 8 March alliance.
On 1 December 2006, Michel Aoun declared to a crowd of protesters that the current government of Lebanon was unconstitutional claiming that the government had "made corruption a daily affair" and called for the resignation on the government. Hundreds of thousands of supporters of this party, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, according to the Internal Security Forces (ISF), (citation required), gathered at Downtown Beirut trying to force Fouad Siniora to abdicate.
On 11 July 2008, Aoun's party entered the Lebanese government. FPM members, Issam Abu Jamra as Deputy-Prime Minister, Gebran Bassil as Minister of Telecommunications, and Mario Aoun as Minister of Social Affairs were elected into government. It is the Movement's first participation in any Lebanese Government.
The results of the 2009 Elections granted the FPM 27 parliamentary seats. One of them was won by Aoun from Keserwan.
In November 2009, and after 6 months of strong political pressure by General Michel Aoun himself, by refusing any participation in the government that was inferior to the 2008 participation, Prime Minister Saad Hariri eventually gave in. The Free Patriotic Movement nominated three ministers to join the first government headed by Saad Hariri, who would receive the ministry of telecommunications, the ministry of energy and water, and the ministry of tourism.
Aoun and his allies got one third of the government, but were one minister short of having veto power. On 12 January 2011, in a move orchestrated from Aoun's house in Rabieh, the Hariri government was toppled through the resignation of the FPM ministers and their allies. On 13 June 2011, a new government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati saw light where Aoun's parliamentary Reform and Change Bloc assumed 10 ministries.
Lebanese Front (LF) leader Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun turned a historic page in intra-Christian relations when the former March 14 presidential nominee officially endorsed on Monday Aoun's candidacy for the presidency. "I announce after long consideration, discussions and deliberations between members of the executive body of the Lebanese Forces, our endorsement of the candidacy of [former] General Michel Aoun for the presidency," Geagea said in joint news conference with his March 8 rival. Speaking from the LF's headquarters in Maarab where he had met with Aoun shortly before the news conference, Geagea read a 10-point understanding that summarized the key points of the Declaration of Intent struck between the LF and FPM in June.
The commitment to the implementation of the Taif Accord, the need to stop the flow of arms and militants across the Lebanese-Syrian border in both directions, the ratification of a new electoral law and compliance with international resolutions were among the key points agreed upon between the LF and FPM, Geagea said. As he read the key points of his understanding with Aoun, Geagea paused for a moment to tell joke. With humor, the LF leader asked Aoun to urge his son-in-law Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to act in accordance with the sixth point of their agreement. Geagea was referring to his understanding with the former general over "the need to adopt an independent foreign policy that guarantees Lebanon's interests and complies with international law." For his part, Aoun thanked Geagea for his support and said he would extend his hands to all political parties.
Geagea's official endorsement of Aoun's nomination would provide a significant boost for the former general's presidential bid but it remains unclear how the Future Movement would react to this initiative. Before his arrival to the LF's headquarters, Aoun met with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, who has repeatedly voiced his support for initiatives aimed at breaking the presidential deadlock. "We came to inform the patriarch of the agreement", Aoun said from the seat of the Maronite church.
Earlier in the day, Rai had met with former Prime Minister and head of the Future Movement parliamentary bloc Fouad Siniora. Following his meeting with the patriarch, Siniora stressed the need to elect a president who enjoys the support of all Lebanese factions. "We have to work hard to elect a person who can unite all Lebanese people from all political affiliations and promote coexistence among them," said Siniora. Geagea's endorsement of Aoun is the first time the country's two leading Christian parties have come together on such a pivotal issue after decades of animosity.
Geagea, the former March 14 presidential candidate, was caught by surprise when his ally Future Movement leader and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri reportedly nominated Marada Movement Chief Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency. Geagea has staunchly opposed the deal, which stirred up controversy both within the March 8 and 14 camps.
Aoun, on the other hand, had shown no signs of giving up his presidential ambitions in favor of Franjieh, a longtime ally of Hezbollah and a member of Aoun's reform and Change parliamentary bloc. For weeks Hezbollah remained silent over Hariri's proposed settlement, as Franjieh sought to win the support of its allies. Hezbollah finally broke its media silence on 29 December 2015, and reaffirmed its support for Aoun's presidential bid.
In the first official statement since Hariri's initiative emerged, Hezbollah's Politburo Chief Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed announced from the seat of the Maronite patriarchate that his party is committed to supporting the presidential bid of its ally Aoun. Aoun and Geagea kicked off talks a year ago. The talks culminated in a Declaration of Intent that paved the way for a surprise visit by Geagea to Aoun's residence in Rabieh in June. The Declaration of Intent has since brought Aoun and Geagea closer together, putting an end to the bitter rivalry between the Christian leaders who fought a devastating war in 1990. Lebanon's top post has been vacant since May 2014 as Lebanese politicians failed to agree on a consensus president.
On 20 October 2016, Saad Hariri declared publicly his support and that of his parliamentary block to voting Michel Aoun for president. This support increased his chances tremendously of getting elected president during the parliamentary session scheduled for October 31.
On 31 October 2016, Aoun was elected the president of Lebanon, ending a 29-month vacuum at the head of the state. After 45 failed attempts to achieve a parliamentary quorum for presidential elections by the Lebanese Parliament, the 127-seat chamber convened for a 46th time on 31 October under the leadership of house speaker Nabih Berri.
The first round of voting required a two-thirds majority of the house, meaning 85 votes of the 127 member chamber, but Aoun closely failed to secure the necessary votes for the round winning just 83 votes, two less than required, while there were 36 blank ballots, 6 cancelled ballots and one ballot for MP Gilberte Zouein.
The second round of voting had to be repeated three times before ballots were read out loud after the parliament's secretariat counted 128 envelopes instead of 127, which is the number of MPs who participated in the presidential election. In the second round, an absolute (50 percent plus one) majority of the quorum was needed, meaning 64 votes required for a successful election. Eventually Aoun received 83 votes and was successfully elected. There were 36 blank ballots in the second round, 7 ballots cancelled and 1 vote for MP Sethrida Tawk Geagea.
*The second and third rounds were cancelled because there were more votes than present MPs.
Aoun was quickly sworn in as president, pledging political and economic reform and urging a "real partnership" among notoriously divided Lebanese political factions. Following the parliament session, Aoun was driven to the presidential palace in the southeastern Beirut suburb of Baabda, returning exactly 26 years after he was forced out of it as army commander and interim premier by Syrian forces.
The incumbent Lebanese prime minister Tammam Salam is expected to present the resignation of his government almost immediately. President Aoun is expected to designate Future Movement leader Saad Hariri as prime minister after binding parliamentary consultations. This comes as a result of the consensus that led to the election of Aoun. Hariri said his support for Aoun was the only way to end the political crisis that brought state institutions perilously close to collapse. Prior to his endorsement by Hariri, Aoun had secured the backing of Hezbollah, of his former Christian rival, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and the mostly Druze Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, but the former general failed to garner the support of Amal Movement and its leader Nabih Berri.
In an unprecedented move, Aoun signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah on 6 February 2006. His present strategy was an alleged "war against corruption".
Since the end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, General Aoun has been seeking to improve his country's relationship with Syria. He has treated all Lebanese parties as potential partners in the process of change and reform of the country. The Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah enters in this context.
In September 2015, Aoun sponsored the candidacy of his son-in law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, to the FPM leadership post. Bassil was elected by acclamation after his main contender, MP Alain Aoun (Michel's nephew), was convinced to quit the race.1933: Born in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik, as the son of poor Maronite parents. His father is a butcher
1941: His family must move out of their house, as British and Australian forces are occupying it
1955: He finishes his secondary education, and becomes a cadet officer at the Military Academy
In 1958, he graduates as an artillery officer in the army. He goes to France to receive further military training at Châlons-sur-Marne. He graduates the following year. He is promoted to Second Lieutenant on 30 September
1966: Gets military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA
1978: Goes to France for more military training at École Supérieure de Guerre
1980: Returns to Lebanon, where he soon is appointed head of the Defence Brigade, which is stationed along the Green Line that separated West and East Beirut
1982: Aoun is promoted to brigadier-general and gets command over the new 8th Brigade, a multi-confessional army unit. The 8th Brigade was instrumental in protecting the Palestinian refugee camp of Borj Al Barajneh from the sinister fate of Sabra and Chatila
1983: Aoun's 8th Brigade, against superior odds, successfully fends off an attack by Syrian Aligned militias in Suq-al-Gharb firmly establishing his military credentials
1984: Is promoted to Lieutenant-general (3 star General), and military chief of staff
1988 September 22: Is appointed by outgoing president Amine Gemayel (15 minutes before the expiration of his term) to head a military government to be formed by members of the Martial Court, which Aoun as Armed Forces Commander chairs. The Muslim members of the Martial Court, it later transpired, are pressured by the Syrian occupant to decline their appointments. The area under Aoun's control at this point is very small: East Beirut and surrounding suburbs. Amine Gemayel appointed officers to take over after briefly considering judges or a caretaker government formed of politicians. Having failed to form a political caretaker government and feeling that judges "can't defend themselves" he opted for a military cabinet. Indeed, Amine Gemayel had recognized that his own nemesis throughout his presidency the militia his slain brother Bashir Gemayel had founded, the Lebanese Forces, would also attempt to undermine the authority of a caretaker government
1989: In February 1989: The Lebanese army takes control of the harbour of Beirut, which came to involve military actions against the "Lebanese force". On 14 February 1989, Aoun and his family escape an assassination attempt by the "Lebanese force". in March, as part of his strategy to reestablish the government's control over illegal ports, Aoun established a Maritime Control Center to stifle traffic from illegal ports operated by Syrian-aligned militias. These militias respond by shelling the sector under Aoun's control, including of the presidential palace, the seat of Aoun's government. In light of Syrian participation in these acts of sedition, Aoun declares a "war of liberation" against Syria. In September, Aoun agreed to an Arab League brokered cease-fire. In October 1989, even though the National Reconciliation Charter got support from most Muslim and Christian parliamentarians, Aoun rejected it, because it did not propose a clear schedule for the Syrian army withdrawal from Lebanon, because "the Charter was passed under duress, with Parliamentarians on foreign soil under Saudi and Syrian foreign influence". Aoun, using his constitutional powers as acting president, dissolved the parliament
5 November 1989: Aoun refuses to recognize the president, Rene Muawad, newly elected by a parliament that he had dissolved. On 24 November, as had been the case with Muawad (assassinated on 22 November), Aoun does not recognize the new elected president, Elias Hrawi. Hrawi responds by dismissing Aoun. Aoun ignores the dismissal, insisting that he and not Hrawi holds the legal constitutional powers. Aoun's argument remains that having dissolved parliament, the election of Hrawi (and Muawad before him) by that parliament is therefore null and void
December 1989: a group of army commanders visit Michel Aoun on Christmas holiday. Aoun orders his commanders to prepare for a big battle to take place in one month later in order to "sweep the broken pottery" (i.e. the Lebanese Forces). For this reason the battle between Aoun's Army and the Lebanese Forces is called "cancellation war" (حرب الالغاء)
January 1990: Aoun's forces attack a school in Ain El Remmeneh that belongs to the Lebanese Forces and controlled it, this incident comes after Aoun's press conference stating that "The only rifle allowed is for the Lebanese Army". Michel Aoun doesn't know that Samir Geagea is prepared for this war, so he does not anticipate that the war will last six months, and the war weakens both sides and divides and weakens Christians
October 1990: Following an air and ground campaign, Syrian troops and air forces successfully occupy all areas controlled by the Lebanese Army. Under siege and militaristic pressure by the Syrian army and the Lebanese Forces, Aoun is now held up in the presidential palace of Baabda, and is requested to go to the French Embassy to declare a surrender. There, he surrenders to the Syrians via a radio address, however bad communications due to heavy bombardment prevents some divisions from receiving an official order to surrender, who thus continue fighting, resulting in a particularly bloody battle in the town of Dahr al-Wahsh where two-hundred Lebanese troops manage to inflict five-hundred casualties on the Syrian army (the troops and many local civilians subsequently massacre after surrendering)
August 1991: Aoun leaves for France after the Lebanese government has granted him conditional amnesty, and the French president, asylum
January 1999: Prime Minister Rafik Hariri says that Aoun could return to Lebanon with the guarantee that he will not be arrested. He is uncertain as to how Syria will react, and remains abroad
7 May 2005: Aoun returns to Lebanon. In late May, he participates in the parliamentary elections. He is elected to the National Assembly, and his party, the Free Patriotic Movement, wins 21 seats
2008: Participates for the first time in the Lebanese government with five ministers
7 May 2009: The Free Patriotic Movement wins 19 seats, 5 more seats than in the previous elections. In November, he takes part in the new government with five ministers
2011: The 14-month-old government collapsed after FPM ministers declare their resignation, followed by the rest of the opposition. According to Aoun, the priorities of the new government would now be to break all ties with the tribunal, and to stamp out the 20-year-long corruption plaguing the country. The new Government is formed on 13 June 2011, with 6 ministers for the Free Patriotic Movement, up from 3 in the last government, and a total of 11 ministers for Aoun's C&R bloc. However, the loyalties of the five non-FPM ministers of this bloc seem to shift very easily to Mikati depending on their own interests, as did the rest of the 8 March coalition, leaving Aoun's ministers as a minority in the government without even veto powers, as they were in Saad Hariri's government
April 2013: General Aoun's parliamentary bloc manage to conclude a consensus around a new electoral law based on proportionality. This consensus is however broken by one of the parties (the Lebanese Forces) and the next parliamentary elections will be held with the amended 1960's electoral law
May 2013: Parliamentary elections are reported for September 2014. General Aoun's parliamentary bloc are the only deputies to oppose the decision of the current political class to renew the term of the parliament for one year
November 2014: Parliamentary elections are reported up to June 2017. General Aoun's parliamentary bloc deputies oppose again the decision of the current political class to renew the term of the parliament for three years
8 July 2015: Hundreds of FPM supporters rally in Beirut to denounce the decision of the sunni prime minister Tammam Salam to impose the modification of the decision's mechanism inside the government in absence of a Christian president
12 August 2015: Thousands of FPM supporters rally in Beirut to denounce the lack of balance in the government's decisions mechanism between Christians and Muslims as well as the garbage crisis and the boycott of a part of the political class for the election of a strong president
4 September 2015: Dozen thousands of FPM supporters rally in Beirut in support for general Michel Aoun's demands : a new electoral law based on proportionality and the election of a strong president
11 October 2015: Dozen thousands of FPM supporters rally to renew their support to General Michel Aoun
31 October 2016: After a successful vote by the parliament Michel Aoun is declared as "President of Lebanese Republic".