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The National Liberal Party (NLP, Arabic: حزب الوطنيين الأحرار, literally Ḥizb Al-Waṭaniyyīn Al-Aḥrār) is a center-right political party in Lebanon, established by President Camille Chamoun in 1958. It is now under the leadership of Dory Chamoun, his son.
The party has adopted a hard line in regard to the preservation of Lebanese independence, and to the safeguard of the distinctive liberal practices in Lebanon with respect to freedom of expression and opinion and religious freedoms. Most Lebanese political parties has a sectarian basis; although the NLP during the civil war was mainly supported by Christians, however the NLP is non-sectarian, national, liberal, political party that adopted the Chamoun'ism الفكر الشمعوني that transcends sectarianism and has support among Lebanese citizens of different religions or sects. (For more information on this, see Demographics of Lebanon)
While in England and the United States, Camille Chamoun developed an appreciation for political, economic, and social liberalism, particularly in the media. After his presidential career ended, he set up the National Liberal Party to represent his views. Politically, he was anti-French and pro-British, and strongly supported independent action. The ideology of the National Liberal Party was primarily focused on allegiance to Chamoun and support for Lebanese independence. It distinguished itself from other parties mainly by its support for democratic governance and a free enterprise system.
In 1968, the party joined The Helf Alliance formed with the two other big mainly Christian parties in Lebanon: the Kataeb of Pierre Gemayel, and National Bloc of Raymond Eddé. During the Lebanese Civil War of 1975–90, the NLP was aligned with the mainly Maronite Christian alliance who fought the Lebanese National Movement (LNM). It had its own armed militia, the Tigers. In 1976, the NLP joined with the Kataeb Party (Phalange) and the Lebanese Renewal Party (LRP) to form the Lebanese Front, a political coalition. This was paralleled by the joining of the militias under a central command, the Lebanese Forces, headed by Phalange leader Bashir Gemayel. In 1980, Gemayel turned on the Tigers, and in a surprise attack in Safra eliminated the militia. The NLP has survived as a party, however. Nevertheless, with the death of Camille Chamoun in 1987 and the assassination of his successor and son Dany in 1990, combined with the rise of the Lebanese Forces as political party, it seems that the NLP's political influence has considerably declined comparing to the 1960s and 1970s.
In 2005 the NLP was part of the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, opposed to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, but later left because of what it alleged was "corruption" in this gathering and integrate March 14 Alliance
List of presidents of the National Liberal Party
- ^ a b Hiro, Dilip (1982). Inside the Middle East. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 9781135048150.
- ^ A.J. Abraham (2008). Lebanon in Modern Times. University Press of America. p. 128.
While in England and the United States, Camille Chamoun developed an interest and fondness for political, economic and social liberalism, specifically in the media. Eventually, after his presidential career ended, he would form Lebanon's National Liberal Party (Hizb al-Wataniyy al-Ahrar/ al-Ahrar) to continue to propagate his views. He was always anti-French and pro-British, and a powerful supporter of independent action, especially as president (1952–1958).
- ^ Shanahan, Rodger (2005). The Shi'a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics. Tauris Academic Studies. p. 93.