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    President Anwar Sadat has been given a massive vote of confidence by the Egyptian people.


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    President Anwar Sadat has been given a massive vote of confidence by the Egyptian people.

    SYNOPSIS: At the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Friday (17 September) newsmen from many countries gathered to hear the results of a referendum held the previous day, in which nine million Egyptian voters were given the option of a yes or no vote to President Sadat staying in office for another six years. As expected, he won near-unanimous support with only 5,605 people voting against him.

    Interior Minister Sayed Fahmi announced the referendum results, saying that 99.9 per cent of the votes cast backed Mr. Sadat, whose name was the only one on the ballot paper.

    Although Mr. Sadat lacks the popularity of his predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser, he has no serious rivals and his position has not been publicly challenged in recent years. He will be formally sworn in next month and the overwhelming vote in his favour will buttress his efforts to step up Egypt's role in the quest for peace in Lebanon.

    When Anwar Sadat became President of Egypt in 1970 many people saw him as merely a stop-gap, while manoeuvring between the real power brokers played itself out. But after winning a major showdown against his rivals in 1971, Mr. Sadat has gradually consolidated his position. In Egyptian eyes his principal achievement was the crossing of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian army in the October 1973 Middle East war.

    He is also given credit for the gradual loosening of the autocratic governmental system which prevailed under Mr. Nasser, for giving the press greater freedom and for moving slowly towards a multi-party political system.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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