Nassib Lahoud Dies after Long Battle with Illness

The head of the Democratic Renewal Movement, former MP Nassib Lahoud, passed away at dawn Thursday after a long battle with illness. He was 68.

Lahoud, who was a lawmaker between 1991 and 2005, died at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Ashrafiyeh.

The presidential contender has held various political posts, including ambassador to Washington and minister of state.

In 2001, he contributed to the establishment of the Qornet Shahwan coalition of center-right Christian politicians. The same year, he founded along with hundreds of Lebanese intellectuals the Democratic Renewal Movement.

He lost in the 2005 parliamentary elections in his Metn district at the head of the opposition list and withdrew from the race in 2009.

Lahoud had been a prominent figure in the March 14-led coalition that was established after ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination and the ensuing withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

He had limited political functions lately due to his illness but U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman held talks with him during his visit to Beirut in December.

The Democratic Renewal Movement met for the first time under Lahoud in August last year after he returned to Lebanon from medical treatment in France. He stressed that his group was independent and was no longer part of any political coalition.

Lahoud is survived by his wife Abla Festoq and their two children Salim and Joumana.

The funeral procession will be held at the St. George Cathedral in downtown Beirut on Saturday. The family will accept condolences on February 5 and 6 in his residence at his hometown of Baabdat.

There will also be condolences on February 7 and 8 at his home in Ashrafiyeh.

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