Palestinian president Abbas leaves hospital

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas left hospital on Monday following eight days of treatment for pneumonia and pledged to return to work, an AFP journalist reported.

The 83-year-old, dressed in a suit and walking without assistance, gave a short statement before leaving the hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, saying he planned to be back at work in his office as normal on Tuesday.

Abbas was admitted on May 20 to the Istishari Arab Hospital with complications following an ear operation, including high fever.

Officials have since said he was being treated for pneumonia.

His extended hospitalisation led to widespread speculation over whether his condition was worse than what was being disclosed.

No successor is publicly in line for the Palestinian presidency, which has added to concerns over Abbas's health. Uncertainty surrounds any potential succession process following his death.

Abbas won a four-year term as president in 2005, but he has since remained in office without further elections.

Abbas argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.

A moderate, he has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.