Cabinet Approves Draft Law Allowing Morsi to Deploy Army

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Egypt's cabinet on Monday approved a draft law that would allow President Mohammed Morsi to deploy the armed forces on the streets "to participate with the police in preserving security and protecting vital establishments."

The law, which has to be ratified by the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, would apply until after the next legislative elections and be invoked whenever the president deems it necessary, state news agency MENA said.

It would also give the defense minister the power to determine the location of the deployment, the troops required as well as define their missions, MENA said.

Later on Monday, Egypt's senate ratified the law that would grant the armed forces powers of arrest, the official MENA news agency reported.

According to the text the armed forces will "support the police in maintaining order and protecting vital installations until the end of parliamentary elections and whenever the National Defense Council (headed by President Mohammed Morsi) requests it."

The army will also "be given powers of arrest according to the law", it said.

The draft comes a day after Morsi declared a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya after they were hit by deadly riots.

In a televised address he also slapped the three provinces with night-time curfews, while calling the opposition -- which accuses him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power -- to a national dialogue at the presidential palace.

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