JUMBLAT (family)

Notable Druze family from Mukhtara, a village in the Lebanese Mountain. Of Kurdish origin, the Jumblat family claims lineage from Salah ad-Din Ayubi, better known outside the Arab world as Saladin. They migrated from Aleppo to Lebanon in the 17th century. In the 19th century, they emerged as one of the leading clans among the Druzes.

Kamal Jumblat, born in 1917, became a prominent Lebanese politician. After having studied law and sociology in Beirut and Paris, he was elected to parliament in 1947 and became the leader of the Jumblat clan the following year. In 1949, he established the PSP, « Progressive Socialist Party », which, although predominently Druze, had Sunni, Shia and Christian members and advocated the abolition of the confessionalist system. He joined the governement in 1960 as education minister and became interior minister the next year. As interior minister, he legalized in 1970 different transmational parties like the Baathists and the Communist The combination of the strong traditional influence he exercised on his community and leftist views led him to create the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) in 1975.He was assassinated in 1977.

Walid Jumblat, son of Kamal, also studied in Beirut and Paris. Although he was considered by some as un-orthodox (having married a non-Druze), he succeeded his father in 1977 as the leader of the clan, of the PSP and the LNM. In 1983, Walid Jumblat became minister for the first time, with the portfolio of public works and transportation. He had reservations about the Taif Agreement signed in September 1989, which he considered as giving too many concessions to the Maronites, but was finaly convinced to accept it. Following the end of the Lebanese war in October 1990 he became – like the other militia leaders – minister without portfolio in the national reconciliation government. He was appointed in the enlarged parliament of June 1991. Elected to parliament in September 1992, he became minister of the displaced persons.