Lebanon's PSP choses Taymur Jumblatt as new leader after father's 45-year rule

Lebanon's PSP choses Taymur Jumblatt as new leader after father's 45-year rule
Taymur Jumblatt on Sunday was chosen to become head of the PSP, a core component of Lebanon's long-time sectarian ruling elite.
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Taymur Jumblatt was the sole contender in the election [Getty/archive]

Lebanon's biggest Druze party on Sunday chose Taymur Jumblatt, 41, to succeed his father as leader of the small but influential community in the country's power-sharing system.

Almost 2,000 supporters gathered in Ain Zhalta in the Chouf mountains, where members of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) named the lawmaker as their new leader, after his father headed the party for 45 years.

He takes up the mantle at a time when Lebanon has been reeling from three years of gruelling economic crisis, widely blamed on the governing elite of which the Jumblatt dynasty is a core component.

"Taymur Jumblatt won the presidency of the Progressive Socialist Party, for which he was the sole contender," the PSP said in a statement.

Translation: Walid Jumblatt cries during his son Taymur Jumblatt's speech after his election by acclamation as head of the Progressive Socialist Party

His father Walid Jumblatt, 73, had already passed the leadership of his community to his son in 2017.

The PSP was founded by Taymur's grandfather Kamal and has become all but synonymous with the Druze community.

PSP votes could prove pivotal in parliament at a time when lawmakers have failed 12 times to elect a new president.

The political deadlock has left Lebanon without a president for eight months, and governed by a caretaker cabinet with limited powers for more than a year.

The Druze - a monotheistic, esoteric ethnoreligious community - make up around five percent of Lebanon's population, but have wielded political clout under Taymur's father, Walid.

Born in 1982 during the civil war, Taymur studied at the American University of Beirut, where he met his wife Diana Zeaiter, a Shia Muslim, and at the Sorbonne in France.