As rumors are awash concerning the health of elderly PA President Mahmoud Abbas, reports in Israeli and Arab media claimed Fatah has named deputy chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul as a temporary successor to the Palestinian leader.

Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Photo Credit: Ehud Amiton/TPS

Senior Fatah official Mahmoud al-Aloul has reportedly been named as the leading candidate to replace the 82-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to various reports. This appointment comes amid widespread rumors surrounding the deteriorating health of the incumbent president.

Last month, Abbas underwent medical examinations at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in what Palestinian officials claimed was a routine check-up. Despite Abbas asserting he was in good health, reports in Israeli and Arab media have claimed that the Palestinian leader suffers from severe stress, high blood pressure and heart problems and is a heavy smoker. 

Aloul, 68, reportedly shares the same strategies and policies taken by his potential predecessor. Also known as Abu-Jihad,  the former governor of Nablus was appointed last year as the first-ever vice president of the PA.  Al-Aloul has been a member of Fatah’s Central Committee since 2009 and has served 10 years as the Palestinian minister of labor. He remains a close confidant of Abbas.