Nayla Tueni

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Nayla Tueni
Born Nayla Gebran Tueni
31 August 1982
Achrafieh, Beirut
Residence Beirut
Nationality Lebanese
Education Lebanese University
Occupation Journalist, Parliamentarian
Home town Beirut
Term 2009-2013
Political party
Independent
Religion secular Greek Orthodox
Spouse(s) Malek Maktabi (married 2009-)
Children Gebran Malek Maktabi (2010-)
Parents Gebran Tueni, Mirna Murr
Relatives Gebran Tueni (Great-grandfather)
Marwan Hamadeh (Great-Uncle)
Nadia Tueni (Grandmother)
Ghassan Tueni (Grandfather)
Michel Murr (Grandfather)

Nayla Tueni Maktabi (Arabic: نايلة تويني مكتبي‎) (born 31 August 1982) is a Lebanese journalist and politician. She won the Greek Orthodox seat for Achrafieh in the 2009 Lebanese Elections for the March 14 block. She and Nadim Gemayel are currently the youngest members of Lebanese Parliament and she is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon.[1]

Tueni is a fourth generation journalist. An Nahar was established by her great-grandfather, Gebran Tueni, in 1933. Her grandfather, Ghassan Tueni, ran the newspaper for decades. She is heiress along with her siblings to the newspaper dynasty and currently a member of the Board and the Deputy General Manager of An Nahar. She is also a board trustee of the Mentor Arabia, a non-governmental regional organization that promotes drug prevention and raises awareness on various issues among Arab youth.[2]

Early life[edit]

Nayla Tueni was born in Achrafieh on 31 August 1982. Her family is a prominent Orthodox Christian clan in Lebanon. She pursued her primary education at Collège Louise Wegman and went to high school at Collège Notre-Dame de Nazareth in Achrafieh. In 2005, she obtained a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the Lebanese University. Then she received a masters' degree from the Jean Monet Faculty in Paris. In 2003, she worked as a trainee for An Nahar and then wrote in the Education and Youth section of the newspaper.[3]

Political views and March 14 alliance[edit]

Nayla Tueni is a secular Christian Greek Orthodox. At the time of her political campaign, she stood for belief in Christian preservation, as well as her stance against the Hezbollah, brought her the support of conservative Christians of the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb party. However, she is also an advocate for secular reforms in the Lebanese sectarian system. In a reportage broadcast by Al Jazeera about the power struggle of Lebanon's Christian clans, Tueni stated in Arabic: "The current system means I only represent my sect. I would rather represent my country and not my sect and hope that one day Lebanese politics will not be based on sect".[4]

Among the 48 points she has listed in her political platform are her opposition to the foreign occupation of Lebanon by Israel or Syria, the support of a free democratic Lebanon and political pluralism. She also wishes to see Lebanon remain aside from regional tensions and conflicts, which have turned it into a battlefield for the wars others fight against each other. Tueni also wants to see Lebanese prisoners released from Syrian jails. She supports the securing of borders to prevent arms smuggling, and equal rights for Lebanese women, from voting to participating in the Army.[5]

2009 Pre-Election controversy[edit]

Prior to the 2009 election, rumours spread claiming that Tueni had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim. Tueni accused her political rival, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), General Michel Aoun, to have been at their origin. Tueni's allies and supporters then backed her claims and showed a video of the leader of the FPM discussing that specific topic with another political ally, Suleiman Frangieh. To add more to the confusion, a Saudi visa that Tueini had applied for showed Islam in the religion category, as Saudi authorities require visa applicants to state their religions. Again, Tueini accused her political rivals, mainly the FPM, to have produced and distributed copies of that document which she claimed had been a typo mistake. Tueni retaliated, threatening to sue and appeared on TV where she gave evidence that she was still a Lebanese Orthodox Christian.[6] Although she ended up marrying a Muslim after the elections, there is no tangible evidence of her conversion to Islam. Consequently, many of Tueni's voters felt deceived and humiliated to find out she was in fact in a relationship with a non-Christian and that there was some truth to Michel Aoun's statement after her marriage. Considering she received strong support and sympathy from supporters slashing Aoun's claims and made no mention what so ever of relationship with Malek Maktabi at the time.

Post election period[edit]

Prior to the election Nayla Tueni made a promise the Lebanese Forces (LF) block that she would join their block. However, she has yet to make this concession and so far LF do not have a representative in Achrafieh, their heartland. After the election in August 2009, Nayla married the Lebanese television presenter of the LBC program Ahmar bel Khat Al Arid, Malek Maktabi in a civil ceremony in Cyprus (dubbed the civil marriage Capital for Lebanese), since Lebanon does not recognize civil marriage yet for either Christian or Muslims within Lebanese territory.[7] Considering Tueni is an Orthodox Christian and Maktabi a Shiite Muslim. Reactions to the pairing were mixed as interfaith marriage is still unpopular among many Lebanese noting sectarian tensions still apparent in Lebanese society.[8] In April 2010, she gave birth to a baby boy Gebran Malek Maktabi.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Committee calls for greater female participation in pols". The Daily Star. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "Lebanon: The family business - Part 4". YouTube. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ [4][dead link]
  7. ^ [5][dead link]
  8. ^ Tarek Joseph Chemaly (25 August 2009). "(Never Twice Same City): What's so civil about this marriage?". Beirut/NTSC. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 

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