Eddé, Raymond (1913–2000)

views updated

EDDÉ, RAYMOND (1913–2000)

Lebanese Maronite Christian politician, born in Alexandria, Egypt. Son of Émile Eddé, president of Lebanon between 1936 and 1941, Raymond Eddé studied law, then entered politics in 1943. Six years later, he became amid (president) of the National Bloc, succeeding his father, who had just died. As soon as he took office, he voiced his opposition to President Beshara al-Khoury, the legality of whose election he contested. In opposition to the new president were also Camille Chamoun, Abdelhamid Karamé, Hamid Franjiya, and Kamal Jumblatt. In 1951, with Chamoun and Jumblatt, Eddé created the Lebanese National Socialist Front. In 1956, when he had been representing the town of Jubayl for three years, he succeeded in getting a bank secrecy law passed that would turn Lebanon into an important financial center. Concurrently, he supported the campaign advocating the adoption of civil marriage. In July 1958, he was defeated in the presidential elections by Fu'ad Shahab. In spite of this setback, he asserted himself as one of the principal leaders of the Christian camp. In October, he joined the "people's salvation" cabinet, where he held the interior, foreign affairs, labor, and transportation portfolios. In 1964, he suffered his second political defeat in the legislative elections, losing his deputy's seat, but he won it back the following year in partial elections. Opposed to Shahabism, he participated in a tripartite alliance with Pierre Jumayyil and Chamoun. In October 1968, he became minister of public works and agriculture, but he resigned three months later, following the Israeli raid on the Beirut airport, against which the Lebanese military put up no resistance. Advocating Lebanese unity, he asked for a United Nations force for South Lebanon, which he saw as the only way for Lebanon to avoid growing polarization.

In November 1969, he opposed the agreement between the Lebanese government and the Palestinian fidaʾiyyun, arguing that it gave Israel a pretext for nullifying the Israeli-Lebanese armistice agreement signed in 1949. Condemning the action of the Maronite militias, Eddé was regarded as a traitor to his own group. In August 1970, he opposed the candidacy of the Shahabist Elias Sarkis and supported Suleiman Franjiya in the presidential election, but four years later he dissented from the latter's policies and in October 1974, along with former prime ministers, created an anti-Franjiya bloc. In 1976, he escaped several assassination attempts. In July, opposing the entry of the Syrian army into Lebanon, he founded the National Union Front. In December, condemning the Phalangists' actions, refusing to take a position in intra-Lebanese fighting, and rejecting all plans to partition Lebanon, he decided on exile in France. From Paris, Eddé continued to speak for human rights and democracy in Lebanon. In 1990, in spite of the end of the civil war, he refused to return to Beirut, opposing the Taʾif Accords, which he thought only sanctioned the Syrian presence in Lebanon. He died in Paris in 2000.

SEE ALSO Chamoun, Camille;Jumblatt, Kamal;Phalange;Taʾif Accord.