Friday, April 27, 2012

Lawmakers ask Shwe Mann to lead in solving oath standoff

Friday, 27 April 2012 15:42 Myo Thant

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Leaders of 16 Burmese political parties have asked ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Vice Chairman Shwe Mann to take the lead in solving the NLD oath of office issue. Shwe Mann is also speaker of the Lower House of Parliament.

Dr. Aye Maung of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) told Mizzima that party leaders want national reconciliation and if Shwe Mann supports a specific solution, it will be supported by the full Parliament.

USDP Vice Chairman Shwe Mann in the Burmese Upper House at the third regular parliamentary session on Monday, April 23, 2012. Photo: Mizzima / Lynn Bo Bo

For the past week, members-elect of the National League for Democracy (NLD) have boycotted the current Parliament session, calling for a revision to the oath’s wording.

MPs from 16 political parties including the National Unity Party [NUP] and two independent candidates signed the letter sent to Shwe Mann.

The petition was not signed by MPs from the military, the ruling USDP, or the Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State (an alliance of the USDP).

The petition referred to the amendment made recently to the Political Party Registration Law, which was made in conformance to the request by the NLD regarding the oath of office issue. The letter also mentioned the NLD landslide in the 1990 election, and its work for democratic reforms over the past two decades.

“We requested [him] to do it for the sake of those facts,” Aye Maung. “The responsibility to amend the oath should be taken by the strongest party in the Parliament.”

If it is determined that the oath issue must be resolved by an amendment to the Constitution, then 20 percent of the MPs must support the motion calling for a vote. The clause in question states “lawmakers have to safeguard the Constitution.” The NLD has asked for the wording to state “lawmakers have to respect the Constitution.”

To pass an amendment to the Constitution requires the support of 75 per cent of the MPs in the Union Assembly [joint Parliament].

The third regular parliamentary session will end on April 30.

Meanwhile, MP Phone Myint Aung told Mizzima that the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would deliver a speech to Parliament. The date was not announced. Ban is expected to arrive in Burma this weekend.

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