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Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi takes parliament oath, ending standoff

The democracy advocate had disagreed with the wording of the oath, throwing an expected return to democracy into question.

Aung San Suu Kyi takes parliament oathEnlarge
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to media representatives after she attended a session at the lower house of parliament during which she read her parliamentary oath in Naypyidaw on May 2, 2012. Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in as a member of parliament on May 2, opening a new chapter in the Nobel laureate's near quarter-century struggle against oppression. (Soe Than Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's opposition leader, took the oath of parliament on Wednesday, ending a crisis over the wording of the pledge and ushering in a new era for the once-isolated country, Reuters reported.

The parliament chamber was "stacked with uniformed soldiers," and it is unclear whether Suu Kyi will be able to continue to shepherd promised changes after the military dictatorship suddenly relaxed political restrictions last year. Suu Kyi spent 15 years in detention for her pro-democracy advocacy. 

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She promised an "overhaul of Myanmar's army-drafted constitution," wrote the news wire.

CNN reported that the controversy over the wording of the oath was due to phrase that called for lawmakers to "protect" the constitution, which pro-democracy lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD) say is undemocratic. Eventually the new lawmakers "backed down" from their demands.

"Suu Kyi said she would take the oath 'for the country and for the people.'"

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The NLD holds few seats in the military-dominated parliament, and the Associated Press wrote that "there are fears the presence of the opposition lawmakers could simply legitimize the regime without any change."

Speaking to reporters following the oath, Suu Kyi said she aimed "to carry out our duties within the parliament as we have been carrying out our duties outside the parliament for the last 20 or so years."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120502/aung-san-suu-kyi-takes-parliament-oath-ending-standoff-myanmar-burma