Myanmar parliament opens without Suu Kyi | News | DW | 23.04.2012
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Myanmar parliament opens without Suu Kyi

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has skipped the opening session of the parliament she was elected into. She had refused to take a required pledge to "safeguard" the constitution passed by the military junta.

Parliament convened on Monday without Suu Kyi and the other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The Nobel peace prize winner said it was not a boycott. Instead, the pro-democracy NLD was postponing its entry into parliament over a dispute about the oath of office.

"We are staying true to our principles," NLD party spokesman Nyan Win said.

The loyalty oath states that parliamentarians pledge to "safeguard" the constitution instituted by the military junta in 2010. The NLD had asked Myanmar's President Thein Sein to allow them to pledge they would "respect" the constitution.

From Tokyo, where he is in the midst of a five-day visit, Thein Sein said he had no plans to change the loyalty oath, Japanese media reported.

"She has to decide whether she will enter the parliament or not," he said, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The 37 NLD members were elected to parliament in by-elections on April 1.

The party boycotted parliamentary elections in 2010, refusing to take a similarly worded oath required under party registration laws. The laws were changed and the NLD rejoined the political mainstream last year.

The row over the oath came ahead of a European Union meeting in Luxembourg on Monday at which the bloc's foreign ministers were expected to lift sanctions on Myanmar to reward the government for its reform efforts.

ncy/pfd (dpa, AFP)