File - President of Lebanon Charles Helou, Sheikh Suleiman Al Yahfoufi, Prime Minister of Lebanon Taki Al-Din Al-Solh, Baalbek, 1975. ( Photo courtesy of the Creative Space Programme)
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Ahead of the 2014 presidential election, this is the fourth in a series of articles examining the circumstances and conditions that shaped the elections of Lebanon's 12 presidents since 1943 .The presidential race kicked off in the summer of that year when President Fouad Chehab announced his opposition to a proposal to amend the Constitution and renew his term, even though it was backed by a majority in Parliament.Hailing from the town of Baabda, Helou was a knowledgeable and moderate figure who held several ministerial posts during the terms of presidents Beshara al-Khoury, Camille Chamoun and Chehab.While Chehabists were both Christian and Muslim, most Christian leaders – including former President Chamoun, Kataeb Party leader Pierre Gemayel, National Bloc leader Raymond Eddeh and Suleiman Franjieh – were in the opposition by 1964 .Nassif said the U.S. sought to bring either Franjieh or Eddeh to the presidency.Abdel-Nasser did not know Helou, but trusted Chehab's decision, according to Nassif.Although Helou's election was viewed as an extension of Chehabism, his term actually marked the beginning of the end for Chehab's reformist steps.
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