Palestinian leader tries to dispel fears after health scare

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has tried to dispel growing concerns about his health and lack of a successor, saying that political institutions aren't based on just one person and that the country "will always be full of good men."

The 83-year-old Abbas spoke late yesterday in a televised meeting with leaders of his Fatah movement. He convened the meeting a day after being released from a week-long stay in a hospital where he was treated for pneumonia.

His hospitalisation was the latest in a series of health scares and revived concerns about what will happen once he leaves office. There is no clear path of succession, and Abbas has refused to designate a deputy. Several Fatah leaders consider themselves to be successors, raising the possibility of a chaotic political battle.


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