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National Liberal Party

NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY

lebanese political party established by and in support of the chamoun family.

The National Liberal Party (NLP) was established by Camille Chamoun when he left the presidency of Lebanon in 1958. The NLP is a political vehicle used by the Chamoun family to reward its followers and partisans. While not having a defined political ideology, the NLP favored free enterprise and strong ties between Lebanon and the West, while at the same time it championed Maronite authority over Lebanon's politics. In the 1970s, the NLP claimed some 60,000 to 70,000 members, most of them from the Maronite Christian community, with some Shiʿite, Druze, and Greek Orthodox followers.

During the Lebanese Civil War of 1975, the NLP's militia, the Tigers (al-Numur), fought alongside the Phalange militias against the Islamic-Leftist coalition. In 1980, the Tigers were defeated, following an attack by the Lebanese Forces headed by Bashir Jumayyil. Following their defeat, the Tigers joined the Lebanese Forces and recognized Jumayyil as their leader. The NLP remains the party of Camille Chamoun, who used it to maintain his political power after leaving the presidency of Lebanon. Under his mandate, Lebanon was engulfed in a short civil war that ended with the 19821984 intervention of a multinational force composed of U.S. Marines and British, French, and Italian troops.


During the Cold War, Chamoun chose the anti-communist camp but created many enemies in Lebanon and the Arab world. In 1987, Camille Chamoun died and was replaced by his son Dany as the chair of the NLP. In 1990, Dany was assassinated and was replaced by his brother Dori.

see also chamoun, camille; jumayyil, bashir.


Bibliography


Suleiman, Michael W. Political Parties in Lebanon: The Challenge of a Fragmented Political Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967.

george e. irani

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