Bechara El Khoury

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This article is about the Lebanese president. For the Franco-Lebanese composer, see Bechara El Khoury (composer).
His Excellency
Bechara el Khoury
بشارة الخوري

Bechara elkhoury.jpg
Bechara El Khoury's Presidential portrait, 1943.
1st President of Lebanon
In office
22 November 1943 – 18 September 1952
Prime Minister Riad Al Solh,
Abdul Hamid Karami,
Sami as-Solh,
Saadi Al Munla,
Hussein Al Oweini,
Abdallah El-Yafi,
Nazem Akkari,
Saeb Salam
Succeeded by Camille Chamoun
6th President of the Greater Lebanon
In office
21 September 1943 – 11 November 1943
Preceded by Petro Trad
Succeeded by Émile Eddé
2nd & 4th Prime Minister of the Greater Lebanon
In office
5 May 1927 – 10 August 1928
Preceded by Auguste Adib Pacha
Succeeded by Habib Pacha Es-Saad
In office
9 May 1929 – 11 October 1929
Preceded by Habib Pacha Es-Saad
Succeeded by Émile Eddé
Personal details
Born (1890-08-10)10 August 1890
Rechmaya, Aley District, Ottoman Lebanon
Died 12 January 1964(1964-01-12) (aged 73)
Beirut, Lebanon
Political party Constitutional Bloc
Religion Maronite Church
Sheikh Khalil El Khoury, Sheikh Bechara El Khoury's father, in a 19th-century photo

Bechara El Khoury (10 August 1890 – 11 January 1964 in Rechmaya)[1] (Arabic: بشارة الخوري‎‎) was the first post-independence President of Lebanon,[2] holding office from 21 September 1943 to 18 September 1952, apart from an 11-day interruption (11–22 November) in 1943. He had previously served two brief terms as Prime Minister, from 5 May 1927 to 10 August 1928 and from 9 May to 11 October 1929.

Early life and education[edit]

Khoury was born in Rechmaya, to Lebanese Maronite Christian parents in a town in the Aley district, Mount Lebanon governorate on 10 August 1890.[1] He studied law.

Political career[edit]

Khoury founded the Ad-Dustour Party and served as a Cabinet minister prior to his election as President on 21 September 1943. He was a strong nationalist who opposed the French Mandate, and on 11 November 1943, he was arrested by Free French troops and imprisoned in the Rashaya Tower for eleven days,[2] along with Riad Al Solh (the Prime Minister), Pierre Gemayel, Camille Chamoun, and numerous other personalities who were to dominate politics in the generation following independence.

Massive demonstrations forced the Free French forces to release the prisoners, including Khoury, on 22 November 1943, a date now celebrated as Lebanon's national independence day.

Khoury is remembered for his part in drawing up the National Pact, an agreement between Lebanon's Christian and Muslim leaders which forms the basis of the country's constitutional structure today, although it was not codified in the Constitution until the Taif Agreement of 1989. In the Pact, Christians accepted Lebanon's affiliation with the Arab League and agreed not to seek French protection, which Muslims agreed to accept the Lebanese state in its present boundaries and promised not to seek unification with neighbouring Syria. The Pact also distributed seats in the National Assembly in a ratio of six Christians to five Muslims, based on the 1932 census (this has since been modified to represent followers of the two religions equally). Most significantly, the three main constitutional offices (President, Prime Minister, and National Assembly Speaker) were assigned to a Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Shi'a Muslim, Lebanon's three largest confessions, respectively.

Khoury's years in office were marked by great economic growth, but the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (in which Lebanon fought on the Arab side) strained the Lebanese economy with its financial cost and with the influx of some 100,000 Palestinian refugees. These factors, along with suspicions of corruption in Khoury's administration, provoked massive demonstrations which forced him to resign on 18 September 1952. He was succeeded by Camille Chamoun, although technically Fuad Chehab succeeded him temporarily as acting president.


  1. ^ a b "Khoury, (Cheikh) Béchara (Khalil) El-". Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b David S. Sorenson (12 November 2009). Global Security Watch—Lebanon: A Reference Handbook: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-0-313-36579-9. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Émile Eddé
President of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Fuad Chehab
Preceded by
Petro Trad
President of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Émile Eddé
Preceded by
Habib Pacha Es-Saad
Prime Minister of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Émile Eddé
Preceded by
Auguste Adib Pacha
Prime Minister of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Habib Pacha Es-Saad