05 November 2004
As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat clings to life in a Paris military hospital, Palestinian leaders are trying to formulate a plan for a smooth transition of power in case of his death.
Many Palestinians, as well as analysts and observers of the region, fear Arafat's death could spark violent power struggles among security chiefs, Palestinian officials and militant groups.
In a newspaper commentary Friday, former U.S. Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross predicts such a struggle and urges elections to find Mr. Arafat's legitimate successor.
Under Palestinian law, parliament speaker Rawhi Fattouh would replace Mr. Arafat as Palestinian Authority president for 60 days, until new elections are held.
For now, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas are sharing most official duties.