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National Bloc

NATIONAL BLOC

lebanese political party headed by emile and raymond eddé.

Established in 1934, the National Bloc became the political vehicle for Emile Eddé and his son Raymond Eddé. Originally from Jubayl (Byblos), the Eddé family played an important role in the history of Lebanon. Elected president of Lebanon in 1936, Emile Eddé was the first Maronite Catholic president to appoint a Muslim prime ministerthus establishing the tradition. In 1949 Emile Eddé died and was replaced as chairman of the National Bloc by Raymond.

As a member of the Lebanese parliament from 1953, Raymond, a firm believer in the free-enterprise system, introduced several important pieces of legislationnotably the 1956 law on bank secrecy, the law introducing the death penalty in 1959, and the joint banking account law in 1961. With the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, Raymond Eddé kept the National Bloc from becoming a party of warlords. He was the first Lebanese politician to warn of the dangers of Lebanon becoming a hostage to her two neighbors: Syria and Israel. In 1969 Raymond Eddé and the National Bloc were the only group to vote down the Cairo Agreement between Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1976, as a result of seven assassination attempts, Raymond Eddé opted for the relative safety of exile in Paris.

Since Raymond's death in May 2000, the bloc has been led by his nephew, Carlos Eddé, a businessman who had spent most of his life abroad. The National Bloc is no longer a major player on the Lebanese political scene.

see also eddÉ, raymond.

Bibliography


AbuKhalil, As'ad. Historical Dictionary of Lebanon. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

george e. irani
updated by michael r. fischbach

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