Solange Gemayel

Solange Gemayel (born 1949) is a Lebanese political figure and former First Lady of Lebanon. The widow of former President-elect Bachir Gemayel (1947–1982), who was assassinated days before he was due to take office in 1982, she helped to found the Bachir Gemayel Foundation, to keep his legacy alive.

Solange Gemayel
Solange Gemayel.png
Solange Gemayel, 2010
First Lady of Lebanon
Designate
In role
23 August 1982 – 14 September 1982
PresidentBachir Gemayel
Preceded byIris Handaly
Succeeded byJoyce Gemayel
Personal details
Born
Solange Tutunji

1949 (age 72–73)
Beirut, Lebanon
NationalityLebanese
Political partyKataeb Party
Spouse(s)
(m. 1977; died 1982)
ChildrenMaya Gemayel (deceased)
Youmna Gemayel
Nadim Gemayel

Political activities and viewsEdit

Solange Gemayel strongly opposed the Syrian military presence in Lebanon, and was an enemy of the Syrian-backed government which took power in 1990. She is strongly pro-Western, and in 2003 she rattled the political establishment by publicly supporting U.S. President George W. Bush in his decision to attack Iraq and depose the government of Saddam Hussein.

In 2002, she openly condemned Karim Pakradouni as the Kataeb's "imposed by force" leader and argued that he betrayed the real Phalange values that her husband fought for during his lifetime.[1]

Hosting a formal dinner at her home in August 2003, she praised what she called America's "historic step" to "establish democracy, fight terrorism, make peace and give the people a taste of freedom." She also joined her son, Nadim, in endorsing Hikmat Dib of the Free Patriotic Movement in an important byelection. This put her (and her son) at odds with her brother-in-law, former President Amine Gemayel, who endorsed the more moderate Henri Helou. Helou won, but by a much smaller margin than had been expected.

She was an outspoken critic at several major demonstrations against the Syrian presence and the Syrian-backed government, in the wake of the 14 February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Ghattas Khoury declared in May 2005 that he would withdraw from the Beirut elections for the sole Maronite seat, enabling Saad Hariri to include Solange Gemayel on his list.[2] Saad Hariri announced on 16 May 2005 that Gemayel would contest the election as a member of a multiconfessional electoral ticket he had compiled. On 30 May 2005, Gemayel was elected to represent the Beirut constituency.[3] In 2009 elections, she stepped out the race in favor of her son, Nadim.[4][5]

Personal lifeEdit

Solange Tutunji married Bachir Gemayel in March 1977. Their first daughter, Maya, was born the following year. She was killed in 1980, by a car bomb intended against her father. A second daughter, Youmna, was born in 1980, and a son, Nadim, in 1982, only months before his father's assassination.[6] Solange Gemayel raised her two surviving children to carry on their late father's legacy. Nadim indicated his intention to follow in the footsteps of his father and mother by participating in the political process.

In October 2017, the Lebanese justice sentenced the killers of Bachir Gemayel, 35 years after the killing,[7] a trial she said she "had been expecting".[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Solange Gemayel Blasts Pakradouni as 'Forcefully Imposed Leader". Lebanese Forces. 17 July 2002. Archived from the original on 3 August 2002. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Ghattas Khoury bows out in Solange's favor on Saad's list". Lebanonwire. 15 May 2005. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Women in Lebanese Elections: Second-Class Citizens". ASWAT. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 27 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  4. ^ Ali, Maysam (11 May 2009). "Where are our women MPs?". Now Lebanon. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  5. ^ Hamzah, Weedah (2 June 2009). "Political success in Lebanon runs in the family". M and C News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  6. ^ Edward A. Gargan (15 September 1982). "Bashir Gemayel lived by the sword". Nytimes.com.
  7. ^ Paula Astih (21 October 2017). "Lebanese Judiciary Sentences Bashir Gemayel's Killers to Death". Aawsat.com.
  8. ^ "Lebanon orders Gemayel's assassin, Habib Shartouni to turn himself in within 24 hours". Yalibnan.com. 26 November 2016.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Iris Handaly
First Lady of Lebanon
Designate

1982
Succeeded by