Middle East: Swift Succession

Egypt's constitution allowed up to 60 days for the country to select a successor to President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Only nine days were needed. Last week, in Cairo's Victorian National Assembly building, 353 members of the Assembly formally selected Vice President Anwar Sadat as the new leader of the country. This week the populace will vote in a yes-or-no national referendum. The outcome is so certain that preparations are already under way for Sadat's inauguration two days later.

Egypt's leaders had sound reasons for their haste in selecting a new President. At...

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