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Oath of office 'still an obstacle'

Spokesman says refusal to amend could keep MPs away from first parliamentary session

Aung San Suu Kyi and other MPs from the National League for Democracy at their headquarters this morning in Yangon Aung San Suu Kyi and other MPs from the National League for Democracy at their headquarters this morning in Yangon
  • Thomas Toe, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • April 20, 2012
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A spokesman for the National League for Democracy (NLD) said today that a dispute over the wording of the oath of office may prevent party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 42 other party parliamentarians from attending their opening session of parliament next week.

U Nyan Win said a meeting yesterday in Naypyidaw with the Constitutional Juridical Office ended with no resolution to the dispute.

“It is as yet uncertain whether prospective NLD parliamentarians will take part,” he said.

The dispute involves the wording of part of the oath administered to all MP, which states: “I will uphold and abide by the constitution.”

Suu Kyi said last month that the constitution fell short of democratic norms and required changes, including an article that stipulates the reservation of 25 percent of parliamentary seats for military officers.

U Nyan Win said earlier this week that the NLD was seeking to amend the wording of the oath to state that “I will abide by the law,” according to a report by CNN.

He said today that he would send a letter to the president of the lower house of parliament stating the party’s case for amending the oath.

U Ohn Kyaing, an NLD spokesman and newly elected MP, said yesterday that the government had already amended certain laws to better conform with democratic norms and that the party was asking for the same approach to be taken with the oath.

“The authorities must change the oath, as they have already changed the law,” he said, adding that changes were necessary to root out legal and procedural obstacles to further reform.
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