Talal Arslan (الأمير طلال أرسلان) is the leader and the head of the Lebanese Democratic Party. He is the chief of the Arslan family, descendants of the Lakhmids.
Arslan was born in Choueifat to the late Druze leader Emir Majid Arslan. He studied at Charley Saad school in Choueifat, now known as SABIS International School. He then moved to London to continue his studies because of the war in Lebanon. Before taking over his duties, his mother, Emirah Khawlah Majeed Arslan, was the family chief. During her reign his brother, Emir Faysal, was also involved in politics.
Arslan has a bachelor's degree in political sciences from George Washington University and a master's degree from the American University of Beirut.
Family and personal life
Arslan met his wife Zeina Kheireddin, now known as Emirah Zeina Talal Arslan, in London. They got married on 17 July 1993. On 8 April 1994 their first child, Emir Majid was born; he is now the Heir to the Lakhmids and the House of Arslan. Their daughter Emirah Kinda was born on 30 April 1996 in Beirut.
Arslan resides in "Khaldeh Palace", or "Dar Khaldeh", located in Khalde, Choueifat, Lebanon. The palace has been the residence of the chief of the Arslan family since the beginning of the 20th century. It is the official residence of other members of the family such as Princess Khawla Majid and Princess Zeina Majid. Before that, the official residence of the head of the dynasty was in the "Serail of the Arslan family" in Choueifat ( سراي الأمير جمال الدّين الأرسلاني) that was built in the 17th century and is still used today by family members for private retreats; especially during weekends.
Arslan was elected to the Lebanese Parliament as a deputy of the Aley District in 1991, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2009. From 1990 to 1992 he was the Lebanese Minister of Tourism, from 1996 to 1998 he was Minister of Emigrants and served as Minister of State twice from 2000 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2004. Emir Talal founded the Lebanese Democratic Party in 2001. He is also affectionately called "al-damaneh" ( الضمانة) meaning "The Guarantee", by his followers
- Minister of Tourism: 24 December 1990 - 16 May 1992.
- Minister of Emigrants: 7 November 1996 - 4 December 1998.
- Minister of State: 26 October 2000 - 26 October 2004.
- Minister of The Displaced: 26 October 2004 - 19 April 2005.
- Minister of Sports and Youth: 11 July 2008 - 9 November 2009.
- Minister of State: 13 June 2011 - 14 June 2011.
2011 Cabinet resignation
Arslan resigned after not providing the Druze in general, and his party (Lebanese Democratic Party) in particular, a "key ministerial portfolio". He stated "I cannot participate in a Cabinet in which Mikati says that the Druze do not have a right to be assigned a key ministerial portfolio...Mikati is conspiring against coexistence in the country." He further accused Mikati of trying to ignite a conflict within March 8 by lying to the public and attempting to embarrass Hezbollah by stalling the formation of a new government. Security officials said that his supporters in his stronghold of Khalde blocked the highway leading to the village and fired gunshot rounds in the air to protest Mikati cabinet. Moreover they blocked the international highway leading to Damascus in Mount Lebanon as well as main roads in the Chouf District and in South Lebanon; in Hasbaya.
The resignation of Arslan had a negative effect on the March 8 Alliance that was criticised for letting down Arslan whose party was a major ally in it. Therefore many key people in the alliance - such as the speaker of parliament Nabih Berri—contacted Arslan trying to find a suitable solution for the representation of the LDP (Lebanese Democratic Party) in general and Arslan in particular in the newly formed government. After weeks of discussions the resolution was allowing Arslan to name a minister to take his place as Minister of State so that the government will be complete (with 30 ministers) and so that the political hole would be recovered. Thus, Arslan named his brother-in-law (and colleague in the LDP) minister: Marwan Kheireddine.