Burma: Suu Kyi agrees to attend parliament Wednesday
Share this on

Burma: Suu Kyi agrees to attend parliament Wednesday

YANGON, Burma (AP) — Aung San Suu Kyi said she and other lawmakers in her opposition party will attend Burma’s parliament Wednesday for the first time and will take the oath of office though they still fiercely dispute its wording.


Aung San Suu Kyi. Pic: AP.

Suu Kyi said she was not backing down on the issue, however.

“Politics is an issue of give and take,” she told reporters in the main city, Yangon, on Monday. “We are not giving up, we are just yielding to the aspirations of the people.”

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy object to phrasing that obligates them to “safeguard the constitution” — a document they have vowed to amend because it was drafted under military rule and ensures the army inordinate power.

The party wants “safeguard” replaced with “respect,” a change made in other Burma laws including electoral legislation that enabled Suu Kyi’s party to officially enter politics for the first time in decades.

But their failure to take up their seats had irked some of Suu Kyi’s backers, who are eager to see the person who has stood up to Burma’s military for 23 years finally take her place in the legislature.

The April 1 vote was the first ballot the NLD participated in since 1990 — when it won a landslide victory that was promptly annulled by the army.

Suu Kyi said ethnic lawmakers in parliament had appealed on her party to resolve the issue from within the assembly, which is over-whelmingly dominated by the pro-military ruling party and military appointees.

“We are fulfilling the wishes of the people, because the people want the NLD to enter parliament,” Suu Kyi said.

The news comes as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the legislature on the second day of a visit to see how the world body can help promote the country’s tentative steps toward democratic reform.

Ban met President Thein Sein earlier Monday in the capital, Naypyitaw. He is also due to travel to a U.N. drug control project in eastern Shan state, and will also pay his respects at the tomb of U Thant, a Burma diplomat who was U.N. secretary-general in 1961-71.

Ban’s visit is the latest by foreign dignitaries since Thein Sein’s reforms gathered steam in recent months. Thein Sein came to power a year ago after a general election that left the military in firm control but signaled a desire for political reconciliation.