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Palestinian succession gets more complicated

Hopes that Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, would succeed President Mahmoud Abbas have been dashed by news that Erekat has to undergo an urgent lung transplant, thus further complicating the Palestinian political scene.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during a joint news conference with Foreign Ministers of Jordan Ayman Safadi, and Egypt Sameh Shoukry in Amman, Jordan May 14, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RTX35SMV

The case of the succession of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has just gotten more complicated with news that PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat will undergo risky lung surgery this month. Palestinian officials had made a number of changes, including the creation of a constitutional court in April 2016, to ensure that Erekat would be interim president if Abbas is unable to continue his presidential duties. It is expected that the constitutional court would rule in favor of the PLO’s secretary-general, rather than the speaker of the parliament, to act as interim president in the 60 days leading up to new elections.

Multiple Palestinian sources and Israeli media have confirmed that the PLO's secretary-general and the head of the Palestinian negotiating team will have a lung transplant later this month.

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