Yasser Arafat's nephew tipped to become new Palestinian leader

Yasser Arafat's nephew tipped to become new Palestinian leader
Arab leaders are reportedly urging President Abbas to name his successor as concern mounts over the veteran Palestinian politician's health.
2 min read
06 October, 2016
Nasser al-Kidwa [L] is reportedly set to replace Mahmoud Abbas [R] as president [AFP]

A nephew of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been tipped to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority.

According to a report by Israel's Channel 2 on Wednesday, Nasser al-Kidwa - whose maternal uncle was the late Arafat - has emerged as the frontrunner for the Palestinian presidency.

Having previously served as Palestinian Foreign Minister Kidwa - aged 63 - also acted as deputy UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.

The report said that Arab leaders have been personally urging the 81-year-old to name a successor.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II have reportedly been at the forefront of those urging Abbas to make a decision.

According to Channel 2, the pair have voiced their concerns to the president in person, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE sent envoys to Abbas to discuss the issue.

The aging Palestinian head was also reportedly assured by those Arab states that his children would be protected in a future transition.

On Thursday, the octogenarian was taken to hospital to undergo a cardiac catheterisation - a procedure which will test the strength of his heart.

The hospital visit occurred after the Palestinian leader was feeling "tired".

Palestinian officials were quick to reassure reporters that the Palestinian leader's life was not at risk.

"President Mahmoud Abbas conducted medical tests today in the consultant hospital in Ramallah," said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
"All the results of of the tests carried out so confirmed that he is in good health."