Burma’s NLD May Boycott Parliament over Oath of Office Dispute

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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The opposition party of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says it may boycott parliament over a dispute regarding the constitutional oath of office, just weeks after winning a landslide victory in the country's by-elections.

Officials with the National League for Democracy say its newly elected members are unlikely to attend the opening session of parliament on Monday.

The announcement comes after the Burmese government reportedly rejected the NLD's request to change the phrasing of the oath of office from “safeguarding” the country's constitution to “respecting” it.

The Nobel laureate, who won her first ever seat in parliament during the April 1 polls, has long promised to amend the 2008 constitution, which was drawn up by Burma's former military leaders.

Party officials say the issue is unlikely to be resolved in time for Monday's swearing-in ceremony, during which members were set to formally become the main opposition force in a parliament that is dominated by military-backed parties.

The NLD boycotted the 2010 elections that ended decades of military rule in Burma.

Since taking office a year ago, President Thein Sein has enacted a series of democratic reforms, including greater press freedom and the release of many political prisoners.

President Thein Sein travelled Friday to Japan, becoming the first Burmese head of state to visit the country in nearly three decades.