Lebanon / Politics /
Arabic: 'liyās sarkīs
(1924-1985) Lebanese president 1976-1982.
Sarkis task as a president was unusually difficult. The country was in a civil war that nobody could see the end of (and it didn't end until 14 years later). He was put in his position by the Syrians, and knew that he had to govern in accordance with their interests to survive. Yet, he was pushed by many Lebanese groups to limit Syrian power.
Sarkis became gradually weaker and weaker through his presidency, and in the end he was even kicked out of his office by Israeli forces in 1982.
Among of the few conclusions possible to make over his 6 years in office, is that he tried seriously to bring an end to the Civil War, but achieved next to nothing. Through his 6 years in office, the situation deteriorated, due to many more reasons than just the quality of his leadership.
1924 June 20: Born into a Maronite Christian family in Chebanyeh.
1940's: Studies law at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut.
1953: Starts working at the legal section of the government's audit department.
Around 1960: Starts working in the secretariat of president Fuad Chehab.
1962: Becomes director-general for the presidential bureau.
1966: Is appointed governor of the central bank.
1970: Runs for presidency against Suleiman Franjieh, but loses by only one vote in the parliament.
1975: With the star of the Lebanese Civil War, Sarkis represents a moderate Maronite group.
1976 September: With the support of president Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Sarkis is the only candidate for presidency and is appointed president.
December: Sarkis appoints Selim al-Hoss as prime minister.
Late 1970's: While Sarkis replaces top officials with pro-Syrian people, he still tries to limit Syrian power, but in vain. The relationship with prime minister Selim al-Hoss is tense, as al-Hoss considered Sarkis to be too pro-Syrian.
1980 March 5: Sarkis formulates his policy, as part of trying to create national accord: unity, independence, parliamentarian democracy, rejection of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, support for a future Palestinian state and cooperation with Syria.
June: Selim al-Hoss resigns in protest against the president's inability to create peace in Lebanon.
October: After much difficulties, Sarkis is able to appoint a new government with Chafic al-Wazzan as prime minister.
1982 June: Sarkis is kicked out of his presidential office by the Israelis, and loses all effective power.
September: His presidency comes to the official end. Sarkis retires from Lebanese politics.
1985: Sarkis dies.