General Émile Jamil Lahoud (Arabic: اميل لحود; born 12 January 1936) is a former President of Lebanon. He is the son of General Jamil Lahoud, a leader in the independence movement. His mother is of Armenian descent from the Armenian village of Kasab in Syria. Before being elected in 1998, he was Chief of Staff in the Army. Under Lebanon's unwritten constitutional agreement, Al Mithaq Alwatani, the presidency is earmarked for a Maronite Catholic, the parliament speaker's post for a Shiite Muslim and the prime minister's post is reserved for a Sunni Muslim.
Lahoud served under General Michel Aoun during the final years of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90). After an Arab League-brokered cease-fire took effect, Lahoud crossed over into Syrian-controlled west Beirut. A Maronite military officer was needed to assume the position of army commander for the West Beirut-based Lebanese government endorsed by the 1989 Taif Agreement. Lahoud was offered the position.
He served in various posts in the military, including commander-in-chief of the army from 1989 to 1998, and then ran for the presidency in 1998, after having the constitution amended to allow the army commander-in-chief to run for office within three years of holding that post.