Skip to main content

Suu Kyi attends first session of Myanmar parliament since taking oath

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:43 AM EDT, Mon July 9, 2012
Aung San Suu Kyi attends the lower house parliament session in Naypyidaw on July 9, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi attends the lower house parliament session in Naypyidaw on July 9, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The opposition leader sits through morning session of lower house
  • It's her first appearance since being sworn in two months ago
  • Since then, she has made her first overseas visits in more than 20 years

Naypyidaw, Myanmar (CNN) -- Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attended her first session of parliament Monday since her historic swearing in as a lawmaker two months ago.

Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy campaigner who spent years under house arrest, sat through the morning session of the legislature's lower house in the capital, Naypyidaw.

The presence in parliament of Suu Kyi and fellow members of her party, the National League for Democracy, is a key step in the political reforms introduced by the government President Thein Sein.

For decades, Myanmar was ruled by a repressive military junta. But in recent years, the generals have relaxed their grip on power, permitting Thein Sein's administration to push through a series of changes, including peace talks with rebel groups and the release of hundreds of political prisoners.

Suu Kyi emotional journey leaving family
Suu Kyi's emergence as a global icon
Suu Kyi's 'ambitious' plan for Myanmar
Sectarian violence testing Myanmar

The authorities also allowed Suu Kyi and her party to campaign in April by-elections and didn't intervene when the opposition swept to victory in nearly every seat up it contested.

The reform drive by Thein Sein's government has been rewarded with the easing of sanctions by Western governments.

Nonetheless, tensions remain in the country's fragile new political climate.

Suu Kyi and other NLD members delayed their swearing in at parliament because they wanted the wording of the oath of office to be amended. After the Myanmar authorities refused to budge on the issue, the opposition members backed down and took the oath.

More recently, the election commission last month issued a request to Suu Kyi and other members of her party to stop referring to the country as Burma, the country's official name until 1989.

The commission said that the use of the word Myanmar by the constitution meant that "no one has the right" to call the country Burma. That's despite the continued widespread use of Burma by people both inside and outside the country.

Suu Kyi said last week that she could say what she wanted to say since Myanmar was "a democratic country."

Since her swearing in at parliament two months ago, Suu Kyi has traveled to Thailand and Europe, her first trips abroad in more than two decades.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of the last 20 years under house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi's rise to Myanmar's parliament caps a remarkable turn around for the pro-democracy campaigner, who was kept under house arrest for 15 years.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Sat June 2, 2012
Aung Sun Suu Kyi tells WEF delegates in Thailand some healthy skepticism is needed when it comes to the country's recent reforms.
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
By the time we arrived, a couple of hours before Suu Kyi was due, the streets were already thick with thousands of Burmese waiting to see her.
updated 4:45 AM EDT, Mon April 2, 2012
Two years ago, Myanmar's leaders were doing all they could to silence Aung San Suu Kyi. Now they're poised to welcome her into parliament.
From a bloodless coup in 1962 to Aung San Suu Kyi's win in 2012 elections, explore CNN's timeline of recent events in Myanmar.
updated 6:56 PM EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
British Prime Minister David Cameron became the first western leader in decades to visit Myanmar, where he met pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
updated 5:23 AM EDT, Mon April 23, 2012
Will the easing of sanctions lead to Myanmar's economic renewal? CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
updated 4:24 AM EDT, Sun April 1, 2012
If Sunday's by-election in Myanmar is deemed to be free and fair, it will cap off a startling about-turn by the former military men currently running the country.
updated 2:16 PM EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Five years after a brutal crackdown in Myanmar, CNN's Paula Hancocks asks monks if they trust the current changes.
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Sat March 31, 2012
Paula Hancocks describes the rush to do business in Myanmar, as the country transforms it's economy.
updated 1:43 AM EST, Tue December 6, 2011
While Hillary Clinton's historic visit to Myanmar might well unnerve China, analysts believe the relationship between the two Asian neighbors remains strong.
ADVERTISEMENT