Omar Karami

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Omar Karami
عمر كرامي
File:Omar Karami. jpg
Prime Minister of Lebanon
In office
24 December 1990 – 13 May 1992
President Elias Hrawi
Preceded by Selim al-Hoss
Succeeded by Rashid el-Solh
In office
26 October 2004 – 19 April 2005
President Emile Lahoud
Preceded by Rafik Hariri
Succeeded by Najib Mikati
Personal details
Born (1934-09-07) 7 September 1934 (age 80)
An Nouri, French Mandate of Lebanon
Nationality Lebanese
Religion Islam
Coat of arms of Lebanon.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Omar Abdul Hamid Karami (last name also spelled Karamé and Karameh)[1] (Arabic: عمر عبد الحميد كرامي‎) (born 7 September 1934) was the Prime Minister of Lebanon on two separate occasions. He was Prime Minister for the first time from 24 December 1990, when Selim al-Hoss gave up power, until 13 May 1992, when he resigned after massive protests due to deteriorating economic conditions. He was sworn in again on 26 October 2004 and resigned on 19 April 2005, amid protests following the murder of the ex-prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

Early life and education[edit]

Karami was born into Sunni Muslim family in the northern Lebanese town of An Nouri, near Tripoli on 7 September 1934. He is the son of former Prime Minister and independence hero Abdul Hamid Karami.[2] He is the brother of Arab nationalist eight-time Prime Minister Rashid Karami, who was assassinated in 1987.[3] Omar Karami holds a degree in law, which he received from Cairo University in 1956.[4]

Career and alliances[edit]

Omar Karami is a staunch supporter of neighboring Syria.[5] He is "Syria's proxy" among the Sunni Lebanese people based in Tripoli.[6]

Karami worked as both lawyer and businessman.[7] In 1989, he was appointed education minister and on 24 December 1990, prime minister.[4][8] He was in office until December 1992 when he was forced to resign due to economic crisis, which led to street riots.[4][7] Karami was elected as Parliamentary representative of Tripoli in 1991, following his brother's assassination. In late October 2004, he formed a cabinet after the resignation of Rafik Hariri, which was called pro-Syrian.[9][10]

Due to the assassination of ex-prime minister Hariri on 14 February 2005, members of the opposition blamed Syria for the assassination, and demanded Syria withdraw its troops and intelligence personnel from Lebanon, something Karami's pro-Syrian government opposed. Some opposition leaders even accused Karami's government itself of involvement with the killing. Protests grew in Beirut despite an official ban on public protests, and the opposition planned to call for a no confidence vote. Amid the growing pressure, Karami announced on 28 February 2005 that his government would resign,[11] although it remained temporarily in a caretaker role.[2]

Ten days after the resignation, following protests in Beirut that were supportive of Syria, President Émile Lahoud re-appointed Karami as prime minister on 10 March and asked him to form a new government.[12] With the backing of a majority of deputies, Karami called on all parties to join a government of national unity.[13]

On 13 April, after failing to create a new government, Karami resigned again.[4][14][15] He was replaced by Najib Mikati in the post.[15] This resignation added to the turmoil already prevalent in Lebanon since Hariri's assassination as now there was no government to call the elections which were due that upcoming May.[16] Karami did not run for office in the 2005 general elections.[17][18]

In the general elections of 2009, he ran for the Tripoli seat, but he could not win the election.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Omar Karami is the father of Faisal Karami, former sports & youth minister of Lebanon.[21]


  1. ^ Lebanon's Jumblatt backs Hezbollah, Al Jazeera English.
  2. ^ a b Fattah, Hassan M. (1 March 2005). "Lebanon's Pro-Syria Government Quits After Protests". The New York Times (Bairut). Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Derhally, Massoud A. (17 January 2011). "Hezbollah Backs Karami for Premier as Lebanon Political Deadlock Deepens". Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Rola el Husseini (15 October 2012). Pax Syriana: Elite Politics in Postwar Lebanon. Syracuse University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8156-3304-4. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Norton, Augustus Richard (December 2007). "The Role of Hezbollah in Lebanese Domestic Politics". The International Spectator 42 (4): 479–491. doi:10.1080/03932720701722852. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Harris, William (Summer 2005). "Bashar al-Assad's Lebanon Gamble". Middle East Quarterly XII (3): 33–44. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Karami back to lead Lebanese Government". China Daily (Beirut). 12 March 2005. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Salem, Paul E. (22 September 1994). "The wounded republic: Lebanon's struggle for recovery". Arab Studies Quarterly. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Nada Raad; Nafez Kawas (27 October 2004). "Karami unveils final Cabinet lineup". The Daily Star (Bairut). Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hezbollah ignored as Lebanon's top three leaders get major government shares". Lebanon Wire. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "February 2005". Rulers. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  12. ^ O'Loughlin, Ed (11 March 2005). "Beirut spring falters as Syria revives a PM". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Comeback for pro-Syria Lebanon PM". BBC. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Dabashi, Hamid (7–13 September 2006). "Lessons from Lebanon: Rethinking national liberation movements". Al Ahram Weekly 811. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "April 2005". Rulers. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Lebanese cabinet talks collapse". BBC. 13 April 2005. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Moubayed, Sami (8 July 2005). "The new face of Lebanon". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Hariri"s son set to win Beirut poll". Asharq Alawsat. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Elections in Lebanon". IFES. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Abdel Kader, Nizar (11 June 2009). "Prospects for a new government". Middle East Round Table 22 (7). Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  21. ^ Elali, Nadine (8 November 2013). "Political dynasties". Now Lebanon. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
Preceded by
Selim al-Hoss
Prime Minister of Lebanon
1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
Rashid el-Solh
Preceded by
Rafik Hariri
Prime Minister of Lebanon
2004 – 2005
Succeeded by
Najib Mikati