Who is Walid Jumblatt?
Walid Jumblatt is a Lebanese politician, and is currently the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP). He belongs to the Druze clan, which is an offshoot of Shia Islam. Before joining politics, he worked as reporter of the An Nahar newspaper. However, he soon entered politics and became the leading face of Lebanon’s powerful Druze Clan. He formed a National Salvation Front backed by Syria in order to challenge president Amine Gemayel’s rule. This front was also established for challenging Lebanon and Israel’s pact that was financially backed by the US. He was part of Prime Minister Rashid Karami’s cabinet and was appointed as the minister of public works, of transport and of tourism. Over the course of his political career, he got intricately involved in the Syrian politics and developed close links with several political figures of the country. Jumblatt created a major controversy when he directly criticized Lebanese Shiite Party Hezbollah and the Syrian Government. Apart from politics, he is also interested in painting and photography
Childhood & Early Life
Walid Jumblatt was born on August 7, 1949, in the Moukhtara region of Lebanon, in the illustrious Jumblatt dynasty. His father Kamal Jumblatt was a renowned politician and the founder of the leftist, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP). Jumblatt was also the maternal grandson of the Prince Shakib Arslan.
In 1982, he completed his graduation in political science and public administration from the University of Beirut. He then worked as a reporter of the An Nahar newspaper.
After working as a reporter for a couple of years, Jumblatt decided to take up politics as his career, and soon joined the Progressive Socialist Party.
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Walid Jumblatt started his career as a member of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP). He actively worked with the party and participated in its political programs.
In 1983, when Amine Gemayel became the President of Lebanon, Jumblatt formed a National Salvation Front along with Suleiman Frangieh and Rashid Karami. This front was backed by Syria and it was established in order to challenge the President’s rule, and the Lebanese-Syrian pact that got financial support from the US. During this time, he also got considerable support from Nabih Berri.who was the leader of the Amal Movement.
A year later, in May 1984, Jumblatt was appointed as the minister of public works, of transport and of tourism in primeminister Rashid Karami. Prime Minister Rashid Karami’s cabinet.
Jumblatt was originally a supporter of Syria. However, after the Syrian President, Hafez Assad’s death in the year 2000, he has campaigned for relinquishing Syria’s control over Lebanon.
His close relationship with the Syrian old guard eventually alienated after Bashar al-Assad assumed presidency of Syria. As a result, he was pitted against the then Lebanese President Émile Lahoud and the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah.
In the general elections of 2009, Jumblatt won a seat from the Shouf district. He won this seat as part of the 14 March Alliance list. Currently, Jumblatt is the Chairman of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP).
Ever since the start of Syrian Civil War, Jumblatt and his party PSP have adopted an anti-Assad stance. .
Personal Life & Legacy
Jumblatt has married thrice. His first marriage was with popular Iranian actress, who was elder to him. However, Jumblatt’s father did not support this marriage.
His second marriage was with Gervette Gigi, a Jordanian lady of Circassian origin. The couple had a child called Taymour.
Currently, he is married to Nora Sharabati. She is the daughter of Ahmed Al-Sharabari, the former Defense Minister of Syria. The couple has two kids: Aslan and Dallia.
At the time of his first marriage, Walid Jumblatt was only twenty years old.
According to Jumblatt’s friends, he is extremely proud of his Kurdish Origins.