Lebanon / Politics /
(1942- ) Lebanese politician, and president 1982-88.
Upon becoming president 1982.
Unlike his brother Bashir, Amin was never active in the Phalangist militia, and was not directly involved in the Lebanese Civil War. Amin was considered a moderate, and at his accession many Muslims hoped that he represented an end to the dominance of the extremists tactics of the Phalange Party.
The problems Amin had to face were grave: Two foreign armies occupied large parts of the country (hence these areas were out of his jurisdiction), and there was extensive violence everywhere. In the north, pro- and anti-Syrian groups fought each other, and in the southern Israeli-dominated area, Phalangists and Druze faced each other. Even in the government-controlled areas in central Lebanon, many militia groups were fighting each other.
A central dilemma for his politics was the need to meet the demands of the Muslims without destroying the support from his own Christians. Balancing the attitudes towards Syria was another challenge, although these very Syrian interests which brought him to power removed their support within 2 years.
Through this presidency relatively little decisive was achieved, and it was not him who could lead Lebanon into peace.
1942 November 10: Born in Bikfayya (20 km east of Beirut), into a Maronite Christian family, the son of Pierre Gemayel.
1965: After graduating with a law degree from St. Joseph University, Beirut, he starts working as an attorney at law.
1970: Becomes member of the parliament, representing the Phalange party. He is the youngest member of the parliament.
1976: Amin takes contact with the Syrian forces that had intervened in the Lebanese Civil War.
1982 September 21: Subsequently, his brother, Bashir, is assassinated on September 14, and Amin is elected president. This choice is one of necessity, the Phalange party trying to make him fill the void (politically and symbolically) after Bashir. The parliament vote is 78 to 1 in his favor.
1983 May 17: With US pressure, Gemayel signs an agreement with Israel, following discussions occupying the first half of this year.
September: Gemayel sends a letter to president Hafez al-Assad of Syria, asking for the withdrawal of Syrian forces in Lebanon.
1984 February: Gemayel sends the army against the Shi'i strongholds in West Beirut, but it fails to bring them under government control. Instead, the Lebanese army starts to split along religious lines.
March: Appoints a new government led by Rashid Karami, a Sunni Muslim, intended to bring national reconciliation to Lebanon.
August 29: Amin's father, Pierre, dies, resulting in a deterioration of his position in Lebanese politics, especially within the Phalange Party.
1988 September 22: On his last day of office, Gemayel appoints Michel Aoun as leader of an interim military government, in order to rule until a new president is elected.
September 23: As his term of office comes to an end, Gemayel steps down as president.
October: Gemayel moves to USA, where he becomes a lecturer and fellow at Harvard University.
1989: He moves to France, where he returns to being a businessman, and as leader of the opposition.
2000 July: Gemayel moves back to Lebanon, where he now is politically active.