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Amin al-Hafez

Former politician in Lebanon

July 14, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Amin al-Hafez, 83, former Lebanese prime minister who served a turbulent two-month term in 1973 before being forced to resign, died Monday in a Beirut hospital after a long-running battle with an undisclosed chronic illness, medical officials said.

A Sunni Muslim, he was picked by then-President Suleiman Franjieh to form a government in 1973. Although the prime minister's job is reserved for a Sunni under Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system, Sunni religious leaders who opposed Franjieh refused to recognize the appointment. Al-Hafez was forced to resign about two months later.

The crisis, along with a battle between Lebanese troops and Palestinian guerrillas that year, contributed to the tensions that burst into all-out civil war in 1975. The sectarian conflict lasted 15 years.

Al-Hafez later served as a member of parliament, representing his hometown of Tripoli until 1996.

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news.obits@latimes.com

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