Lebanon Biographies Of Potential Prime Ministers Folloing Pm Karami’s Cabinet Resignation

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¶1. Followig are biographies of potential candidates to
repace Prime Minister Omar Karami who resigned on Febuary

28, 2005. According to the 1943 National Pat and the 1989
Taif Accord, Lebanon’s Prime Miniter must be a Sunni

Muslim. Several names of poential candidates are being
discussed in politicl circles. They include Salim Hoss,
Adnan Kassa, Ahmad Hajj, Bahia Hariri, Bahij Tabbarah,
FouadSiniora, and Tamam Salam. This list is not exhausive
and other names could come to the fore on shrt notice.

Salim Hoss, Former Prime Minister

¶2. Hoss was brn in Beirut, 1929. He is a graduate of the
Amercan University of Beirut and holds a PhD in Economcs
and Business from Indiana University.

Hossheaded five Cabinets. From 1976 to 1980, under th
late President Elias Sarkis, Hoss headed two cosecutive
governments, one of which comprised mainy of technocrats.
In 1987, Hoss returned to as Pime Minister under President
Amin Gemayel, upon he assassination of then-Prime Minister
Rashid Krami. He held together what was left of a
functoning West Beirut government until the election of
President Elias Hrawi in 1989. Hoss again formeda Cabinet
that lasted until December 1990. Hoss headed the first
government under President Emile Lahoud’s term in 1998 and
remained in office until 2000. His record during this last
period was not considered impressive.

Hoss resigned from politics after he made a bad showing in
the 2000 parliamentary elections while he was Prime
Minister. This was the first time in Lebanese history that
a serving Prime Minister lost his seat in the Chamber of
Deputies. Hoss attributed his defeat to a campaign
orchestrated by his political opponent, the late Rafiq
Hariri. Despite Hoss’ decision to withdraw from politics,
he remained engaged in national political issues. On
February 28, 2005, Hoss announced the formation of a “third
force” called National Unity Forum aimed at creating a
middle-ground between loyalists and opposition groups.

Hoss participated in the negotiation of the Taif Accord,
which ended the Lebanese civil war. He is well respected on
the domestic and international scene. He is known to be
honest, poised, and democratic. In his tenure as PM, he was
not perceived as a doer. In recent years, Hoss’ health has
been failing. He suffers from asthma.

Adnan Kassar, Former Minister of Economy and Trade
——————————————— —–

¶3. Kassar is the most prominent Sunni in the current
caretaker government. He has already announced his
willingness to serve as Prime Minister. Kassar was born in
Beirut in 1930. He holds a Law degree from Beirut’s St.
Joseph University.

In October 2004, Kassar was appointed Minister of Economy
and Trade in the incoming Karami government. The opposition
has criticized him for remaining in the cabinet following
the assassination of late Rafiq Hariri, a fellow Sunni.

Kassar is a prominent businessman and banker. He is founder
and co-owner of several companies with activities covering
trade, shipping and travel, and industry. He is shareholder
(with Walid Jumblatt) in a prominent Lebanese cement
manufacturing firm, and in “Al-Kimiya Co.
Chemical Industries.” He is a co-owner of Lebanon’s “Ksara”
winery. Kassar is shareholder in Syrian companies “Agrosyr”
and “Amrit Co.”

Kassar and his brother are majority shareholders in
Fransabank, one of the ten largest Lebanese commercial
banks. His titles include Chairman and General Manager of
Fransabank SAL, Chairman of Fransabank France, Chairman of
Fransabank Congo, and Chairman of Luxembourg-based Fransa
Holding SA. The Minister has been criticized for
maintaining his position as President of the Beirut Chamber
of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, a post he has held
since 1972, while serving as Minister of Economy and Trade.

Kassar maintains regional and international connections
through a web of industrial and trade associations. He is
President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce,
Industry and Agriculture. Kassar served previously as
president of the International Chamber of Commerce (1999-
2000) and of the Syrian-Lebanese Businessmen Council (2001-
2002). He has served, variously since 1972, as vice-
President of the Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce,
Industry and Agriculture; vice-President of the General
Assembly of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the
Mediterranean Countries “ASCAME” (Spain). The Minister is a
board member of several Arab-European Chambers of Commerce
as well as the U.S-Arab Chamber of Commerce, based in
Washington, D.C.

Ahmad Hajj, former Ambassador to Great Britain
——————————————— –

¶4. Hajj was born in Beirut in 1926. He joined the Military
Academy and graduated as a Lieutenant. After his
commissioning, Hajj served as Head of the Military
Operations Room under then-Army Commander General Fouad

In 1976, President Elias Sarkis appointed Hajj as Commander
of the Arab Deterrent Force. After retiring from the Army,
Hajj was appointed Lebanon’s Ambassador to Great Britain.
Retired from the diplomatic service, Hajj now writes anti-
Syria, political articles in the Arabic language daily
newspaper An-Nahar.

Bahia Hariri, Member of Parliament

¶5. Bahia, sister of the late Rafik Hariri, is frequently
mentioned as a possible Prime Minister candidate. She has
the heritage, and the money, to mount and sustain a
campaign. But Bahia has named a high price for her
participation — the resignation of all security service
chiefs and a successful investigation into her brother’s
death. Born in Sidon in 1952, Bahia is the youngest of the
frontrunners for the PM job. She is married and has two

Bahia is a teacher by profession and is a Board member of
the Hariri Foundation. She taught in a number of schools
in Sidon and the south. The Hariri Foundation in Sidon,
which she heads, is a major educational and charitable
institution. Bahia was elected to Parliament in 1992 with
117,761 votes, second only to list leader Nabih Berri. She
ran as an independent in 1996 and was elected by a broad
margin. In the 2000 elections, Bahia ran successfully on a
ticket with Speaker of Parliament Berri. She is chairman of
the parliamentary committee for Education, Higher Education
and Culture.

Bahia Hariri has come to center stage following the February
14 assassination of her brother Rafiq Hariri. On February
28, she made a moving Parliamentary speech about the
assassination of her brother. This speech was a factor in
pushing Karami to resign.

Bahij Tabbarah, former Minister of Justice

¶5. Tabbarah was born in Beirut in 1929. He holds a law
degree from St. Joseph University and a Ph.D. from the
University of Paris. Tabbarah has practiced law since 1954
and was known chiefly as the attorney for the late Rafik
Hariri’s interests in Lebanon, including the Mediterranean
Investors Group (MIG), Mediterranean Bank, and the Council
for Development and Reconstruction (CDR). He holds shares
in MIG. He and his wife, also a lawyer, suspended their
practices during his term as a cabinet member.

Tabbarah has served several times as a cabinet member. He
was Minister of Economy and Trade in the Amin al-Hafiz
cabinet, April-June 1973. He was appointed Minister of
Justice in Hariri’s cabinet in October 1992. Tabbarah
continued as Minister of Justice in Hariri’s second cabinet
formed in May 1995. He was re-appointed Minister of Justice
in Hariri’s third cabinet that was formed in November 1996.

Fouad Siniora, former Minister of Finance

¶6. Siniora was born in Sidon in 1943. He holds a Masters
degree in Business Administration from AUB, 1970. He served
as Minister of State for Financial Affairs in the late Rafiq
Hariri’s cabinets of 1992, 1995 and 1996. He was appointed
Minister of Finance in two consecutive governments under
Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, from 2000 till 2004. Siniora
introduced some reforms at the Finance Ministry, which led
to an increase in government revenues through better
collection practices and additional taxes, such as the Value-
Added Tax (VAT). These measures made Siniora unpopular
among Lebanese people. Another major achievement included
the automation of the real estate registry.

Siniora had close ties to late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
He headed or advised many of Hariri’s financial, banking,
and philanthropic institutions. In October 2004, following
the resignation of the government, Hariri appointed Siniora
as Chairman of the Mediterranean Investors Group (MIG).

Siniora was the subject of a judicial investigation over
alleged squandering of public funds in 1999.

Tammam Salam, former Member of Parliament

¶7. Salam was born in Beirut in 1945. The Salam family is
one of the prominent traditional Sunni political families of
Beirut. His late father was one of the heroes of Lebanon’s
independence in 1943. Hariri’s political and financial
powers undermined the role of the Salam family in Beirut.
He is the son of former Prime Minister Saeb Salam.

Salam was elected a Member of Parliament in 1996. He lost
his seat in 2000 because of the late Prime Minister Hariri’s
efforts against him. Salam was trying to mend fences with
the Hariri camp in early 2005, ahead of the Spring
Parliamentary elections. When Speaker Berri launched his
response to the Bristol opposition group meetings, Salam
participated in Berri’s counterpart conclave known as “Ain
Tineh.” Salam abstained from attending the subsequent
meeting “Ain Tineh II” after Hariri’s assassination.