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Suu Kyi hopes disagreement over Myanmar's oath for lawmakers is overcome soon
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) ' Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday she was hopeful a dispute over Myanmar's legislative oath would be overcome soon, calling it a "technical problem" that should not end in political deadlock.
Suu Kyi and members of her political party are refusing to take their seats in parliament over the oath's wording, a move that risks unraveling the fragile and unprecedented detente between the opposition and the military-backed government.
The party objects to phrasing that obligates them to "safeguard the constitution" ' a document they have vowed to amend because it was drafted under military rule and ensures the army inordinate power. The party wants "safeguard" replaced with "respect," a change made in other Myanmar laws.
Speaking during a news conference after meeting Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Suu Kyi said she hoped the "problem will be smoothed over without too much difficulty before too long, and that we'll be able to serve our country not just outside parliament ' as we have been doing for the last 20 odd years ' but also from within the national assembly."
President Thein Sein's administration has overseen a wave of political reforms since taking office a year ago from the country's long-ruling junta, and the legislative by-elections it held April 1 were considered a major step forward.
If the opposition fails to take it seats, the dispute over the oath could spiral into a major setback.
Some pro-opposition exiles have said Suu Kyi's lawmakers are picking a needless fight and that doing so before even entering parliament will achieve little.
But changing the constitution was a fundamental part of the National League for Democracy party's political platform, and Suu Kyi said changing the wording of the oath was crucial and the country's laws should be consistent.
"We'd like to regard it is a technical problem rather than a political one, and we would hope that others will look upon it this way and not try to push it to the extent that it becomes a political deadlock," she added. "I am hopeful that it will not get to (that) point."