Riad Al Solh
|Riad El Solh
|15th Prime Minister of Lebanon|
25 September 1943 – 10 January 1945
|President||Bishara Al Khouri|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Abdul Hamid Karami|
14 December 1946 – 14 February 1951
|President||Bishara Al Khouri|
|Preceded by||Saadi Al Munla|
|Succeeded by||Hussein Al Oweini|
Sidon, Ottoman Empire
|Died||July 17, 1951 (aged 56-57)
|Political party||Committee of Union and Progress
|Spouse(s)||Fayza Al Jabiri|
|Children||Five daughters: Leila Al Solh, 'Alia Alsulh, Bahija Alsulh, Lamia Alsulh, Muna Alsulh;
|Alma mater||Sorbonne University|
Riad Al Solh, also written Riad el Solh or Riad Solh, was born in Sidon in 1894. His family was a prominent Sunni land-owning family from south Lebanon, Sidon. His father was Reda Al Solh, a reformist sub-governor in Nabatiyyah and in Saida and a leading nationalist Arab leader. Reda Al Solh was tried by Ottoman forces in 1915 and went into exile in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire. He then served as an Ottoman governor in Salonica. He also served as Minister of the Interior in Emir Faisal’s government in Damascus.
Solh served as prime minister of Lebanon twice. His first term was just after the Lebanon's independence (25 September 1943 – 10 January 1945). Solh was chosen by president Bishara Al Khouri to be his first Prime Minister. Solh and Khouri achieved and implemented the National Pact (al Mithaq al Watani) in November 1943 that provided an official framework to accommodate the confessional differences in Lebanon. The National Pact was an unwritten gentleman's agreement. The Pact stated that president, prime minister and Speaker of the Parliament in Lebanon should be allocated to three major confessional groups based on the 1932 census, namely the Maronite Christians, the Sunni Muslims and the Shiite Muslims, respectively. During his first term, Solh also served as the minister of supplies and reserves from 3 July 1944 to 9 January 1945.
Solh held premiership again from 14 December 1946 to 14 February 1951 again under the presidency of Bishara Al Khouri. Solh was critical of King Abdullah and played a significant role in granting the blessing of the Arab League's political committee to the All-Palestine Government during his second term.
However, several months after leaving office, he was gunned down on 17 July 1951 at Marka Airport in Amman by the members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. The attack was perpetrated by three gunmen, who killed him in revenge for the execution of Anton Saadeh, one of the party's founding leaders. In the context of 1950s Mideast politics, assassinations were common; indeed, King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated just 4 days later.
Al Solh was married to Fayza Al Jabiri, the sister of two-time prime minister of Syria, Saadallah al-Jabiri. They had five daughters and a son, Reda, who died in infancy. His eldest daughter, Aliya (1935–2007), continued in her father's path in the struggle for a free and secure Lebanon. Aliya propagated the rich cultural heritage of Lebanon abroad until her death in Paris.
Bahija Al Solh Assad is married to Said Al Assad who is the former Lebanese ambassador to Switzerland and a former member of parliament. They have two sons and two daughters.
Patrick Seale's book The Struggle for Arab Independence (2011) deals with the history of the Middle East from the final years of the Ottoman Empire up to the 1950s and focuses on the influential career and personality of Solh. A square in downtown Beirut, Riad al-Solh Square, was named after him.
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|Prime Minister of Lebanon
Abdul Hamid Karami
Saadi Al Munla
|Prime Minister of Lebanon
Hussein Al Oweini
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