Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: مَحْمُود عَبَّاس Maḥmūd ʿAbbās; born 26 March 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen (Arabic: أَبُو مَازِن), has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah (فتح Fataḥ) ticket.
Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally extended his term for another year and continues in office even after that deadline expired. As a result of this, Fatah's main rival, the political party Hamas announced that it would not recognise the extension or view Abbas as rightful president. Abbas was chosen as the President of the "State of Palestine" by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Central Council on 23 November 2008, a job he had held unofficially since 8 May 2005. Abbas served as the first Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from March to October 2003 when he resigned citing lack of support from Israel and the United States as well as "internal incitement" against his government. Before being named prime minister, Abbas led the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department.
Abbas was born in Safed in Mandate Palestine. He and his family fled to Syria during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He graduated from the University of Damascus before going to Egypt where he studied law.