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Palestinians worry about power struggle and confusion when Abbas leaves post

The past week, the Swedish Institute for International Affairs (Ui) launched its new online journal Utrikesmagasinet. Among several interesting contributions, the inaugural issue of this journal features a two-part article series about Palestinian politics and the power struggle that risks to ensue when Mr Mahmoud Abbas leaves the presidency.

Article summary in English

The struggle for who to succeed Mr Mahmoud Abbas as Chairman of the PLO and President of Palestine has begun – and it might end up shaking the entire state-building project to its very foundations.

Even in the most democratic systems, periods of succession can mean fierce and dirty political battles about who the new leader should be. The problem here, however, is that the Palestinian political system is neither particularly democratic nor does it have a functioning order of succession.

A decade ago when Mr. Abbas’s predecessor, Yasser Arafat, passed away, the most senior members of the PLO held a secret meeting to appoint a successor. This happened without any sort of democratic anchorage and even without having decided collectively within the PLO how to proceed.

As the democratic order has been set aside by precedent and no successor has yet been chosen, the risk increases for a fierce power struggle within the ruling Fatah party – or, even, that other parties/groups attempt to seize power outside of the traditional procedure used when Mr Arafat passed away.

Read the article series here (in Swedish)

Part 1: “Oro inför palestinskt maktskifte: Vad händer när Abbas lämnar?”, Utrikesmagasinet, (april) 2016.

Part 2: “Oro inför palestinskt maktskifte: Utan kronprins kan Palestina rämna”, Utrikesmagasinet, (april) 2016.

Read more

‘Marwan Barghouti is planning a comback behind bars’, +972 Magazine, 16 April 2016.

‘Meet the next Palestinian president’, The Times of Israel, 15 April 2016.

‘The Palestinian leadership crisis’, Brookings, 5 January 2016.

‘An unholy alliance’, Foreign Affairs, 23 December 2015.

‘Palestinian public opinion poll no. 58’, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 14 December 2015.

‘There will be no peace until Israel’s occupation ends’, The Guardian, 11 October 2015.

‘Friction in Fatah’, Foreign Affairs, 9 September 2015.