Karim Pakradouni - Political Career

Political Career

Pakradouni has been a leading figure in the Kataeb Party since 1968 when he became the party's student organization. Salem Abdelnour who was his spouse's uncle provided him with the financial security to forgo a career and concentrate on his political aspirations. True to his Arabist tendencies, he developed close ties with the PLO and famously led a Kataeb student delegation to Jordan to meet with Yasser Arafat in 1969.

He was elected to the Kataeb party's political bureau in 1970 and remained in the party's top echelon, leading the so-called "Arabist" faction of the Kataeb Party (Phalange), which favored close ties with Syria.

During the reign of Lebanese President Elias Sarkis in the 1970s, he was assigned as political advisor to the president.

Pakradouni was also a leading figure in the Lebanese Forces. After Bachir Gemayel tried to unite Christian military forces under the title of the Lebanese Forces, Pakradouni joined in. He was also part of the consultative team of Gemayel entrusted with the presidency's pan-Arab relations when Gemayel was elected President of the Republic. Gemayel was assassinated prior to his inauguration as president.

Pakradouni remained an influential figure during the Lebanese Forces head Elie Hobeika's reign after many revolted against the earlier chief of the LF Fouad Abou Nader and excluded Abou Nader from power. However in a later internal feud in the Lebanese Forces led by Samir Geagea to remove Hobeika from power, Pakradouni squarely sided with Geagea against Hobeika who escaped to Syrian-controlled area of Lebanon before being assassinated.

In 1994, after the pro-Syrian Lebanese government ordered the dissolution of the LF and arrest of Samir Geagea on 21 April 1994, Pakradouni was sidelined and later on returned to the Kataeb Party.

On October 4, 2001 he was elected president of the Kataeb party, in a bid to unite the party divided between various factions prior to his ascendancy to the top position in the party. However throughout his tenure during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, pro-Syrian party members were promoted and anti-Syrian members were intimidated or ejected. In 2004, he was assigned as Minister of State for Administrative Development in the Lebanese government led by Rafic Hariri.

Until December 2007, he was the hands-on leader of the Kataeb party, while former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel was the "higher leader." In December 2007, Gemayel became the sole leader. Consequently, in 2008, Karim Pakradouni pended his resignation from the Kataeb party.

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