Middle East

Palestinian territories profile - Leaders

Palestinian Authority President: Mahmoud Abbas

Former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, the candidate of the Fatah faction, won the January 2005 poll to replace Yasser Arafat.

Mr Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, had already succeeded Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), having been Mr Arafat's deputy since 1969.

The surprise victory of the militant Islamic movement Hamas in parliamentary polls in January 2006 heralded a brief period of uneasy coexistence with Fatah.

This veered into something approaching civil war when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Fatah suppressed Hamas on the West Bank.

After numerous attempts to heal the rift, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation deal and formed a unity government in 2014 under Rami Hamdallah. But it took another three years for Hamas to allow the unity government to take over public institutions in Gaza.Mahmoud Abbas's term in office was set to have ended in January 2009, but the rift with the rival Hamas administration in Gaza has precluded orderly elections.

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