President AMINE GEMAYEL
The eighth President of the Lebanese Republic was born at Bikfaya in Lebanon in January 22nd 1942, into a family which has played a major political role in modern Lebanon.
His father Pierre Gemayel, created the Kataeb party and his brother Bachir, elected President in 1982 was assassinated three weeks later.
After studying law at Beirut's Saint-Joseph university he began practising law in 1965. In 1970 at the age of 28, Amine Gemayel became the youngest member of the Lebanese parliament. On the 21st September 1982 he was elected President of the republic by 77 votes out of 80.
His term of office ended in September 1988, and he took up a place at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard (1988-1989).
Today Amine Gemayel lives in France, from where he is continuing to work for the Lebanese cause and is preparing several publications.
When he became President, Lebanon was still feeling the shock of the Israeli invasion in the summer of 1982 and the subsequent occupation. The new head of state set himself three main objectives which form the basis of his political activity today:
- To work towards independence and sovereignty for Lebanon;
- To recreate the forum for a dialogue between Lebanon's different communities;
- To restore and modernise state institutions;
Concerning Syria, in 1982, Amine Gemayel dissolved the Arab Dissuasion Force which legitimised Syrian military presence in Lebanon; then, despite heavy pressure, in December 1985 he refused to ratify the so-called Damascus treaty which was intent on breaking up all Lebanese institutions.
As for the PLO, in 1987 he annulled the treaty of Cairo, signed with the PLO in 1969, which authorised them to use Lebanon as a base for military operations against Israel.
His position on the Israeli question is that he is opposed to any measures which would work against restoring Lebanon's sovereignty.
On the domestic front, Amine Gemayel's activities are aimed at establishing strong foundations for inter-communal dialogue. He is also working towards restoring the state's role by making its institutions credible, efficient and unified. Throughout his term of office he fought to preserve the unity of the administration, the armed forces and the legal system.
Paradoxically, although the major criticisms of Amine Gemayel during his presidency were his desire to appear as the president of all Lebanon and the pre eminence of the state, today, these are the factors which give him credibility in the eyes of the Lebanese people.
Currently, he is continuing his battle to restore Lebanon's independence and sovereignty and endow it with democratic institutions. Hence his criticism of the Taef agreements which control the running of these institutions. He also condemns the Lebanese people's "consent" and their "collaboration mentality" towards Syrian and Israeli occupation.
Apart from his political activities, in 1976, Amine Gemayel created the INMA Foundation, which brings together a number of institutions dealing with social, political and economic issues concerning Lebanon and the Middle East. One of these is Beit-al-Mustakbal, (the house of the future) which is a combination of think tank and research centre, publishing a quarterly journal in three languages called Haliyyat (Panorama of Events).