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Aung San Suu Kyi is sworn in to Myanmar’s parliament

 

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (centre) along with other elected members of parliament reads her parliamentary oath at the lower house of parliament during a session in Naypyidaw on May 2, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

NAYPYIDAW (AFP) – Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in as a member of parliament on Wednesday, opening a new chapter in the Nobel laureate’s near quarter-century struggle against oppression.

The 66-year-old stood to read the parliamentary oath in unison with 33 other members of her National League for Democracy party who were elected to the lower house in April, an AFP reporter said.

The signing of the oath marks a dramatic transformation in the fortunes of the 66-year-old who was held under house arrest for much of the past 20 years but is now central to the nation’s tentative transition to democracy.

The oath, taken in front of lower house speaker Shwe Mann, states members will ‘safeguard and abide by the Constitution of the Union’ and ‘hold always in esteem (the) non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty.’

Ms Suu Kyi had initially refused to swear the oath, objecting specifically to the ‘safeguard’ element of the army-created constitution.

But on Monday, she retreated from that position having failed to secure a compromise on the wording from President Thein Sein who heads the nation’s nominally civilian government.

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