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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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NLD sends appeal letter to Thein Sein on oath

Leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) submitted a letter of appeal to Burmese President Thein Sein on Friday to try to resolve the dispute over a parliamentary oath, which the NLD opposes.

Thein-Sein-parliament-session-august-22-2011If the NLD and the government do not reach a compromise to the dispute over a word used in the swearing-in oath for new Members of Parliament, NLD-elect representatives will not take the oath to be sworn in on Monday when Parliament reconvenes.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday she believed the issue could be resolved, and NLD members would eventually assume their seats in Parliament.

 NLD spokesman Win Tin said, “We’ve submitted a suggestion letter to the president, urging [the authorities] to change the phrase ‘safeguard the Constitution’ to ‘respect the Constitution’ for use in the swearing-in oath. The president will forward the letter to the Constitutional Tribunal. If [a compromise] is not reached before April 23 [Monday], we decided our MPs will not attend” the opening session. The NLD won 43 seats in the by-elections held on April 1.  
 
NLD MP-elect Sandar Min of the Zabu Thiri Township constituency said the NLD was preparing to submit another [appeal] letter to the presidential office and the Constitutional Tribunal.
 
On Thursday, said the NLD conducted a workshop on the Burmese Constitution for NLD MPs-elect, said Sandar Min. On Friday, they discussed Lower House parliamentary laws.
 
The NLD boycotted the 2010 general election, but it re-registered as a political party and contested in the 2012 by-elections because the government amended some key areas of the Political Party Registration Law, including wording that said “all political parties must safeguard the country's Constitution.” The wording was amended to “respect the Constitution.”

However, observers say changing the Constitution may present a more complicated obstacle requiring the approval of Parliament or the highest court.

During the campaign, the NLD pledged that it would try to amend the 2008 Constitution to conform to democratic principles.