Salim Al-Huss

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Salim al-Huss
سليم الحص
Al-Huss in 2005
34th Prime Minister of Lebanon
In office
8 December 1976 – 20 July 1980
PresidentElias Sarkis
Preceded byRashid Karami
Succeeded byTakieddin as-Solh
In office
2 June 1987 – 24 December 1990*
See list
Preceded byRashid Karami
Succeeded byOmar Karami
In office
6 December 1998 – 23 October 2000
PresidentÉmile Lahoud
Preceded byRafiq al-Hariri
Succeeded byRafiq al-Hariri
Acting President of Lebanon
In office
24 September 1988 – 5 November 1989*
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byAmine Gemayel
Succeeded byRené Moawad
In office
22 November 1989 – 24 November 1989*
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byRené Moawad
Succeeded byElias Hrawi
Personal details
Salim Ahmad al-Huss

(1929-12-20) 20 December 1929 (age 94)
Beirut, Greater Lebanon
SpouseLeila Pharaoun (d. 1990)
Children1, daughter (Wydad)
Alma materAmerican University of Beirut
Indiana University Bloomington
*Al-Huss's term was disputed between 22 September 1988 and 13 October 1990 by Michel Aoun.

Salim Ahmad al-Huss (Arabic: سليم أحمد الحص, romanizedSalīm ʾAḥmad al-Ḥuṣṣ; born 20 December 1929)[1] also spelled Selim El-Hoss, is a Lebanese politician who served as the prime minister of Lebanon and a longtime Member of Parliament representing his hometown, Beirut. He is known as a technocrat.

Early life and personal life[edit]

Salim al-Huss was born into a Sunni Muslim family in Beirut in 1929. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the American University of Beirut and a PhD in business and economics from Indiana University in the United States.[citation needed]

Al-Huss was married to Leila Pharaoun, a Maronite Christian who converted to Islam at the end of her life in order to be buried next to her husband in a Muslim cemetery, according to a 2000 interview with al-Huss.[2][3]

Political career[edit]

Al-Huss served as prime minister of Lebanon four times. The first was from 1976 until 1980 during the first years of the Lebanese Civil War.[4] His second, and most controversial term, was from 1987 until 1989, when in 1988 he unconstitutionally nominated himself as prime minister but was recognized by many nations and statesmen of the international community. Al-Huss was chosen a third time to serve as prime minister by President Elias Hrawi from November 1989 until December 1990. He served as prime minister again from December 1998 to October 2000.[citation needed]

After losing his parliamentary seat to a previously unknown candidate running with former prime minister Rafik Hariri in the general elections of 2000,[5] a frail al-Huss resigned as prime minister, declaring an end to his political career.[citation needed]

In March 2005, he was considered as a candidate to form a new government following the resignation of Omar Karami (Prime Minister again), but he reportedly refused to accept the position for health reasons; Najib Mikati was subsequently appointed.[citation needed]

During his last two terms as prime minister, he was also foreign minister.[citation needed]

He is a member of the anti-imperialist conference Axis for Peace. Al-Huss is a strong opponent of capital punishment, and during his term as prime minister he refused to sign any execution warrants, temporarily halting executions in Lebanon, which remain rare.[6]

Al-Huss's First term[edit]

From January to September 1988, he boycotted meetings of his own cabinet, in protest against the policies of President Amine Gemayel. On 22 September, he refused to accept his dismissal in favour of General Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian. The crisis was precipitated by the failure of the National Assembly to elect a new president (a post traditionally reserved for a Maronite).

Since the Lebanese constitution states that in the event of a presidential vacancy, the outgoing president appoint a temporary prime minister to act as president, outgoing president Gemayel decided to appoint Maronite army commander Michel Aoun to that office, notwithstanding the tradition of reserving it for a Sunni Muslim. al-Huss refused to concede the prime minister's post to Aoun, so the two ended up heading rival administrations; with Aoun occupying the presidential palace at Baabda, al-Huss established his own office in Muslim-dominated West Beirut.[citation needed]

Lebanon was thus left with no president and two rival governments: one constitutional and the other recognized by many states. However, although Syria, at the time occupying much of Lebanon, supported al-Huss, and although al-Huss' cabinet was already operational, most of the international community dealt with administrations on both sides of the Green Line and recognized both as Lebanon's prime ministers even though, constitutionally speaking, Aoun was the lawfully-appointed prime minister and acting president of Lebanon.[citation needed]

Violent conflict between the two prime ministers soon arose over Michel Aoun's refusal to accept the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon. In competition with Aoun, al-Huss remained acting president from 1988 until 5 November 1989, when René Moawad took office. When Moawad was assassinated seventeen days later, al-Huss reprised his role as acting president for two days, at which point Elias Hrawi was elected to succeed Moawad.[citation needed]

In 1990, the civil war ended when Aoun was forced to surrender following an attack on the presidential palace by Syrian and Lebanese military forces. Al-Huss subsequently resigned as prime minister, in favour of Omar Karami.[7]


On 2 May 2017, aged 87, al-Huss took part in a one-day hunger strike in a show of solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike of some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners.[8][9]


  • The Development of Lebanon as Financial Market (in English), 1974.
  • Window on the Future (in Arabic), 1981.
  • Lebanon: Agony and Peace (in English), 1982.
  • Lebanon at the Crossroads (in Arabic), 1983.
  • Dots on the Is (in Arabic), 1987.
  • A War Among Victims (in Arabic), 1988.
  • On the Road to a New Republic (In Arabic), 1991.
  • The Epoch of Resolution and Whim (in Arabic), 1991.
  • A Time of Hope and Disappointment (in Arabic), 1992.
  • Reminiscences and Lessons (in Arabic), 1994.
  • For Fact and History (in Arabic), 2001.
  • Nationalist Landmarks (in Arabic), 2002.
  • Face-to-Face with Sectarianism (in Arabic), 2003.
  • Gist of a Life Time (in Arabic), 2004.
  • Sound without Echo (in Arabic), 2004
  • A call for an Open Dialogue (in Arabic), 2005.
  • Stance as weapon (in Arabic), 2006.
  • Epoch of Agonies (in Arabic), 2007.
  • Ma Qalla wa dall (in Arabic), 2008.


  1. ^ Profile of Selim Hoss
  2. ^ Boustany, Nora (1989-11-14). "Hoss Named Premier in Lebanon". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  3. ^ "Salim Hoss, A prime minister so misunderstood". Prestige. February 2000. Archived from the original on 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  4. ^ "Salim Hoss - Prestige Magazine". Prestige Magazine. 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  5. ^ Shahin, Mariam (1 October 2000). "For liberty, prosperity, fraternity?". The Middle East. Beirut. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Death penalty resumes in Lebanon". BBC. 17 January 2004.
  7. ^ "Hoss Resigns as Premier of Lebanon". Los Angeles Times. Beirut. AP. 19 November 1990. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Lebanon's ex-PM Salim Hoss joins Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike". The New Arab. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  9. ^ "DFLP-affiliated hunger strikers set to refuse water if Israel ignores demands". Ma'an News Agency. Retrieved 2 May 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Lebanon
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Lebanon

Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Lebanon

Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Lebanon
Succeeded by