Palestinians vote on aging leadership as Abbas tightens grip


The top-tier leadership group of the PLO— average age 70 — is up for election for the first time in over two decades, when hundreds of delegates attend a West Bank convention this week.

It should be a chance to revitalize the Palestinian national movement at a historic low point and start talking about potential successors to 83-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas.

Instead, some critics — even within the Palestine Liberation Organization — say Abbas is presiding over a staged event to give his increasingly authoritarian rule a veneer of legitimacy. Others challenge the timing, saying the rift with powerful non-PLO member Hamas, which rules Gaza, must be resolved first.



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