Hoss, Salim Al- (1929–)
HOSS, SALIM AL- (1929–)
Lebanese Sunni Muslim political figure. Salim Hoss was born into a middle-class family in Beirut. After obtaining a degree in economics from the American University of Beirut, then a doctorate in economics at Indiana University in the United States, he taught economics at the American University of Beirut for about ten years. Between 1964 and 1966 he was a financial advisor in Kuwait and in 1967 he was named president of the Central Bank of Lebanon's commission on bank inspection. During this time he formed a friendship with Elias Sarkis, director of the Central Bank, and then became his advisor when Sarkis was elected president. In September 1976 he was named prime minister, holding the portfolios of commerce, industry, oil, and intelligence. As prime minister in the midst of the civil war (1975–1990), he made efforts to apply an "Arab solution", recommended at the Cairo summit. After the resumption of fighting between the militias and the Syrian army, and then the Israeli invasion of 1978, he formed a third national unity cabinet. On 25 October 1980, unable to master the internal situation in Lebanon, he resigned his position as prime minister and was replaced by Shafiq Wassan.
In 1984 he joined the government of Prime Minister Rashid Karame as social affairs minister. After Karame's assassination, President Amin Jumayyil asked him to form a new government. On 22 September 1988 Jumayyil replaced him with General Michel Aoun at the head of a military government consisting of generals. Hoss refused to step down, and for a time Lebanon had two prime ministers. He resigned in the autumn of 1989, and on 13 November he was asked by the new president of the Republic, René Muʿawwad, to form a new national unity government. On 31 December 1990 he was replaced by Omar Karame. In the legislative elections of 1992, he headed the opposition list to the government's candidates. Elected representative for Beirut, he formed a "Bloc for Salvation and Change," which attracted some influential people and aggressively challenged the economic policies of the new prime minister, Rafiq Hariri. In 1996 he suffered a setback in the legislative elections, leading him to join with the National Assembly, which united six prominent figures of the opposition. Hoss again became prime minister on 2 December 1998, after General Emile Lahhud was elected president and Hariri refused to form a new government. For the first time, the great feudal barons and warlords were left out of a new cabinet. As soon as he assumed his duties, he began a reform of the Lebanese public service through a purge of cadres suspected of corruption. Hoss has won respect for his abilities as a manager, but the Sunni community reproached him for his self-xeffacing manner as prime minister, which worked to the benefit of the republic's presidency. On 17 October 2000 the victory of Hariri's party in the legislative elections prompted Hoss to step down as prime minister and Hariri became prime minister again.