Oath wording worries Myanmar reformers

April 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, April 22 (UPI) -- Newly elected opposition lawmakers in Myanmar say they may not be sworn into office Monday due to some troubling wording in the oath of office.

The representatives of the National League for Democracy, which includes Nobel Prize-winning activist Aung San Suu Kyi, want a lined changed from "safeguard" the constitution to "respect" it.

An N.L.D. spokesman said as late as Friday it was "highly unlikely" the 43 new lawmakers would take the oath on schedule.

Political analysts told The International Herald Tribune that swearing to "safeguard" the constitution could be a semantic trap for anyone who attempts to amend the constitution. There are concerns that hard-liners in Parliament who outnumber the reformers could see any move to change the constitution as a failure to "safeguard" it and then seek their ouster.

Some analysts, however, worry that the NLD is not picking its battles wisely and lawmakers won't be able to accomplish anything if they refuse to take their seats. "By participating in the election, Aung San Suu Kyi chose to play by the regime's rules," analyst Min Zin said recently in Foreign Policy magazine. "Now she needs to pick her battles rather than wasting valuable energy in a fight over symbolism."

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