Karame, Omar (1935–)

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KARAME, OMAR (1935–)

Lebanese political figure, Sunni, born in 1935. Trained in law, Omar Karame became secretary general of the Arab Liberation Party (ALP) in 1970. On 1 June 1987, Lebanon's prime minister, his brother Rashid, was assassinated. A few days later Omar replaced him at the head of the council of Tripoli, then became president of the coordinating committee for North Lebanon. During the month of July he tried vainly to restart the Arab Liberation Party, with the help of the Syrians. In June 1988, he failed to form a parliamentary bloc with the deputies of North Lebanon in support of the candidacy of Sulayman Franjiyya to the presidency of the republic. On 25 November 1989, he became minister of education in the government of Salim al-Hoss. On 24 December 1990, he was named prime minister by the president of the republic, Ilyas al-Hirawi. In May 1991, he was appointed deputy from Tripoli. In March 1992, he was confirmed at his post of prime minister. On the following 6 May, when a general strike protesting the cost of living turned into a riot, he resigned. He was elected as a deputy in the 1992 election, the first since before the civil war (1975–1990), and reelected in 1996 and 2000. In September 2003 he joined a new political grouping, the National Front, a multisectarian alliance of six prominent politicians promoting reform (in 2004, other members included al-Hoss, former house speaker Hussein Hissein, former minister Albert Mansour, Butros Harb, and Nayla Moawad).

SEE ALSO Hoss, Salim al-;Karame, Rashid.