Burma’s commitment to democratic reform will be tested when Aung San Suu Kyi takes her seat in Parliament next week, according to a leading Burma expert from The Australian National University.
Dr Nicholas Farrelly from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific said that on 23 April 2012 Aung San Suu Kyi and 40 of her colleagues from Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) are expected to take their seats in the national Parliament.
“These opposition politicians, elected earlier in the month, carry the hopes of millions of Burmese voters,” said Dr Farrelly.
“This is what we have been waiting for. Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD will now be real deal politicians. It is the moment when their rubber will finally hit the road.
“After more than two decades in the wilderness, Burma’s exemplar of democratic struggle gets a chance to show what she can do as an elected leader,” he said.
Dr Farrelly added that expectations will be high and that Suu Kyi will face many challenges along the way.
“There have already been difficulties. For example, there have been tense negotiations about the wording of the oath that will be taken when Suu Kyi is sworn in.
“Her party has taken issue with the wording of the oath taken by new members of parliament, which requires them to swear to protect the constitution. The problem is Suu Kyi has already pledged to amend this constitution to reduce the military’s political power.
“This is a sign of the difficult discussions that will follow and is an early test of how willing Burma’s leaders will be to work with Suu Kyi and her party.”