Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walks with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (unseen) as they review the honor guard in the West Bank city of Bethlehem July 22, 2015.REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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Rumblings in Ramallah in recent weeks have raised expectations that Palestinian politics is in play, with 80-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas, in power for more than a decade, facing a mounting challenge to his leadership.Earlier this month, Abbas unexpectedly dismissed the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization and his effective No. 2, Yasser Abed Rabbo, who had been critical of his decision-making for some time.As if those moves and feints were not enough, Israel's Channel 1 reported Sunday that Abbas had told confidants he would step down within two months, just before a Fatah Party congress penciled in for Nov. 29 .The report was quickly dismissed by Palestinian officials, with Abbas' spokesman telling Reuters it was "typical Israeli rumors" designed to destabilize Palestinian affairs.If the Nov. 29 gathering goes ahead, it should better set out the allegiances in Palestinian politics and indicate who might emerge after Abbas, who has said he would not stand for another term as president whenever elections are next held.
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