Amine Pierre Gemayel ( أمين بيار الجميٌل) was president of Lebanon from 1982 to 1988 and is the leader of Kataeb Party.
Born in the Lebanese village of Bikfaya, Amine Gemayel is the son of Pierre Gemayel, founder of the Kataeb Party. Gemayel was elected to the presidency by the National Assembly on 21 September 1982, in place of his brother Bachir Gemayel who had been elected the previous month but had been assassinated before taking office.
After obtaining a law degree in 1965 from the St. Joseph University in Beirut, Amine Gemayel concentrated on building up his family's newspaper business. In a 1969 by-election, he was elected to succeed his deceased uncle, Maurice Gemayel, as a member of the National Assembly; he defeated Fuad Lahoud a margin of 54% to 41%. In 1972, in the last election to be held for 20 years, he was reelected by a large margin.
While his younger brother Bashir was regarded as a political radical, espousing the expulsion of Palestinian guerrillas from Lebanese soil and a radical overhaul of the political system, and hinting at a possible peace settlement with Israel, Amine Gemayel was considered more moderate. Always a consensus politician, he avoided, at least in his pre-presidential years, alienating Muslim politicians as his brother had done. When Bashir Gemayel was assassinated, therefore, Amine was regarded as a natural choice to bring together both the supporters of his slain brother, and his Muslim opponents.
The Gemayel presidency, 1982-1988
Amin never promised the Israelis anything in order to be elected president, but he promised that he would follow the path of his brother Bashir whatever that path was. Therefore, once elected, Amin refused to meet any Israeli official. With foreign armies occupying two-thirds of the country (Syria in the north and east, Israel in the south), and private armies independent of government control occupying most of the rest, Gemayel's government lacked any real power. His efforts to reach a peace settlement with Israel were stymied by Syria and by Muslim politicians at home. His government found itself largely unable to collect income tax, as warlords controlling the ports and major cities pocketed the tax take themselves. (Citation needed)Many criticized Gemayel for not moving decisively enough to assert the authority of the government, but others have pointed out that with most of the country under foreign occupation, there was little that he could do. He managed to keep a semblance of constitutional order. At one point, he was offered $30 million by Rafik Hariri if Gemayel appointed him Prime Minister. Gemayel refused the offer, and many years later Gemayel narrated the details on a live televised interview.Source: Interview with Maguy Farah on MTV c.1998.
This order began to unravel in 1988. Gemayel, whose term was due to end on 23 September, was constitutionally barred from reelection. Amine Gemayel opposed Dany Chamoun for the presidential elections, a man known for his strong anti-Syrian views, and the son of former president Camille Chamoun, or General Michel Aoun, the commander of the army. Chamoun and Aoun were both unacceptable to Syria and to Muslim politicians in Lebanon. A constitutional crisis developed. Fifteen minutes before the expiry of his term, Gemayel appointed Aoun to the post of Prime Minister, who takes on the role of Acting President if the presidency is vacant. He did so to preserve the tradition that the president, and by implication anyone acting in that role, should be a Maronite Christian,(Citation needed) thereby going against the tradition of reserving the premiership for a Sunni Muslim. (Citation needed) Muslim politicians and warlords refused to accept the Aoun government, instead recognizing a rival government of Selinm Al-Hoss, whom Gemayel had dismissed in favour of Aoun.
Gemayel married Joyce Tyan in December 1967. They had a daughter (Nicole) and two sons, Pierre and Sami). Pierre Gemayel was elected to Parliament in 2000, and established his reputation as a moderate opposition politician before being appointed to the Cabinet in 2005. He was assassinated by unidentified assailants in Jdeideh, a Beirut suburb, on 21 November 2006. Amine Gemayel angrily blamed Syria for the murder of his son.
Gemayel is fluent in English and French, and is regarded as a scholar of Classical Arabic.
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