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58 / 61

VOLUME

2, ISSUE

1 – APRIL

2008

PAGE

58

DISTINGUISHED DRUZE - 2

Government. In 1943, he after the death of his

appeared on the relative Hikmat

political scene

Jumblat.

In

Camille Western

Chamoun.

During

his

presidency,

the

pro-

President Chamoun tied Lebanon to the policies

September, 1943, National Assembly

Kamal Jumblat for the first time,

was elected to the as a deputy of Mount

Lebanon. He joined the opposition Constitutional Bloc Party, headed by the

of the ruling then-President,

Bechara El Khoury. for the first time, for & Social Affairs.

In 1946, he was appointed Minister the portfolio of Economy, Agriculture

In 1947, in spite of his own election for the second time as deputy, he resigned from the government, protesting voter fraud in the parliamentary elections. Likewise, he protested against what he termed the oppression and corruption of Bechara El Khoury, and was a main founder of the National Socialist Front, a movement which succeeded one year later in bringing

down Bechara El Khoury.

On

March

17,

1949,

Kamal

Jumblat officially founded the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and declared its constitution on May 1, 1949. The PSP was a socialist party espousing secularism and officially opposed to the sectarian character of Lebanese politics. In practice, it has been led and largely supported since its foundation by members of the Druze community in general, and the Jumblat clan in particular. In the name of the PSP, Jumblat called the first convention of the Arab Socialist Parties, which was held in Beirut in May 1951. The same year, he was reelected for the third time as Deputy of Mount Lebanon. .

of

the

United

States

of

America

and

the

United

Kingdom,

who were at that time involved in the creation of Baghdad Pact, comprised of Hashemite Iraq, Turkey

the and

Pakistan. coalition, Nasserite

This was seen by pan-Arabists as an imperialist and it was strongly opposed by the influential movement. Jumblat supported Egypt against an

attack by Israel, France, and the United Kingdom in Suez War of 1956, while Chamoun and parts of Maronite Christian elite in Lebanon tacitly supported

the the the

invasion. The sectarian tensions of Lebanon greatly increased in this period, and both sides began to brace for violent conflict.

و

و

و

و و

In 1956, Jumblat failed for the first time in the parliamentary elections, complaining of electoral gerrymandering and election fraud by the authorities. Two years later, he was one of the main leaders of a major political u p r i s in g a g a i n s t C a m i l le Chamouns Maronite-dominated government, which soon escalated into street fights and guerilla attacks. While the revolt reflected a number of political and

sectarian conflicts, it had Arabist ideology, and was supported through Syria

a pan- heavily by the

Republic.

The

newly formed United uprising ended after the United

Arab States

intervened on the side of the Chamoun government and sent the U.S. Marine Corps to occupy Beirut. A political settlement followed by which Fuad Chehab was appointed new President of the Republic.

In 1952, he represented Lebanon at the Cultural Freedom Conference that was held in Switzerland. In August 1952, he organized a National Conference at Deir El Kamar, in the name of the National Socialist Front, calling for the resignation of President Bechara El Khoury. Due mainly to these pressures, the President resigned the same year.

The 1958 revolt

In 1953, Jumblat was re-elected Deputy for the fourth time. He founded the Popular Socialist Front the same year and led the opposition against the new President,

Uniting the opposition

Jumblat chaired the Afro-Asian People’s Conference in 1960 and founded the same year, the National Struggle Front (NSF), a movement which gathered a large number of nationalist deputies. That same year, he was reelected Deputy for the fifth time and the NSF won 11 seats within the Lebanese Parliament. From 1960 to 1961 he was Minister for the second time, for the National Education portfolio and then in 1961 he was appointed Minister of Public Work & Planning. From 1961 to 1964 he was Interior Minister.

“There is an aristocracy of the soul, irrespective of denomination, which gives us all our sense of honor, our reason for working, thinking, loving, and living.”

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