Lebanon's main Druze party choses Taymur Jumblatt as new leader

AFP , Sunday 25 Jun 2023

Lebanon's biggest Druze party on Sunday chose Taymur Jumblatt, 41, to succeed his father as leader of the small but influential community in the country's power-sharing system.

Taymur Jumblatt
Taymur Jumblatt, son of Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, walks past a painting of his late grandfather Kamal Jumblatt. AFP


Almost 2,000 supporters gathered in Ain Zhalta, in the Druze heartland of the Chouf mountains, where members of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) named the lawmaker as their new leader, after his father headed the party for 45 years.

He takes up the mantle at a time when Lebanon has been reeling from three years of gruelling economic crisis, widely blamed on the governing elite of which the Jumblatt dynasty is a core component.

"Taymur Jumblatt won the presidency of the Progressive Socialist Party, for which he was the sole contender," the PSP said in a statement.

His father Walid Jumblatt, 73, had already passed the leadership of his community to his son in 2017.

The PSP was founded by Taymur's grandfather Kamal and has become all but synonymous with the Druze community.

PSP votes could prove pivotal in parliament at a time when lawmakers have failed 12 times to elect a new president.

The political deadlock has left Lebanon without a president for eight months, and governed by a caretaker cabinet with limited powers for more than a year.

The Druze are a secretive offshoot of Islam that make up around five percent of Lebanon's population but who have wielded political clout under Taymur's father.

Born in 1982 during the civil war, Taymur studied at the American University of Beirut, where he met his wife Diana Zeaiter, a Shiite Muslim, and at the Sorbonne in France.

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