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Gemayel's Death One More Blow to Lebanese Political Dynasty


Pierre Gemayel was the scion of a Lebanese political dynasty founded by his grandfather in 1936. It has figured prominently in Lebanese politics for nearly seven decades.

The assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel has brought tragedy once again to one of Lebanon's most prominent political families.

The 34-year-old minister was the youngest member of the Lebanese parliament and the grandson of the founder of Lebanon's Christian Phalangist Party.

His political ancestry is rooted in the right-wing Maronite Christian party, the Phalange. The party was one of the main players in the bloody civil war that gripped Lebanon through the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr. Gemayel was the son of former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel, who was killed in a massive explosion shortly after being elected Lebanon's president in 1982.

After Bashir's death, Pierre's father Amin became president and the party fell under Syrian influence.

At the end his term in 1988, Amin took his family -- including his son Pierre -- into self-imposed exile, hoping it would help heal the divisions between Lebanon's various factions.

While in exile, the former president worked to support the growing movement to end Syria's military and political control of Lebanon.

Upon the family's return to politics in 2000, Pierre was elected to parliament on an anti-Syrian platform.

He became industry minister after the victory of anti-Syrian factions in the elections of 2005, which followed the assassination of popular former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

A U.N. probe has implicated Syrian officials in that slaying but Damascus vehemently denied any involvement.

The Gemayel family's opposition to Syrian domination of Lebanon has already led to accusations by many top Lebanese leaders that Damascus was behind Pierre Gemayel's assassination.

He is survived by a wife and two young children.