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Suu Kyi ready to engage in Burmese Parliament

Aung San Suu Kyi will get down to business in the Burmese Parliament on Monday, her first official day as a lawmaker since she return from a European tour on June 30.

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends the Lower House Parliament session in Naypyitaw on Monday, July 9, 2012. Suu Kyi made her historic parliamentary debut, marking a new phase in her work for democracy in Burma. Photo: AFPShe enters Parliament in a time of significant change, with the resignation of Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo, a hardline former general and close associate of former dictator Than Shwe.

More shake-ups in the cabinet are expected to align top leaders with the reformist President Thein Sein, who has enlisted Suu Kyi, 67, in the makeover process underway to modernize the country.

Forty-three National League for Democracy lawmakers join her in Parliament, marking a transition of longtime anti-military government activists who opposed the former junta government for decades, many of them serving time in prison for their beliefs.

Among the pressing agenda items facing Suu Kyi are the opposition’s response to the sectarian violence that swept over Rakhine (Arakan) State in June, the release of all political prisoners, the lack of a cease-fire agreement in Kachine State, ongoing peacemaking agreements with other ethnic armed groups, and perhaps most pressing of all – how to forge an effective working relationship with the government-backed Union Solidarity and Development party, which dominates all decisions in Parliament.

New skills of organization, diplomacy and detailed legislative bargaining and compromise will test Suu Khi's political abilities. 

Top legislative issues this session include a new Foreign Investment Law and a new media law, which officials said earlier would eliminate prior-censorship and bring press laws in line with neighboring countries.

In addition, political observers say more resignations are expected in the cabinet, opening up the way for more moderate appointments. Some speculation has said Suu Kyi might be offered a cabinet-level post, but she has said she wants to serve in the Parliament.

Suu Kyi said last week the National League for Democracy has a list of proposals it will table in Parliament for discussion, covering a wide range of issues. When – and if – she speaks on Monday it will mark a shift to a new phase in her nearly quarter century struggle to bring democracy to Burma, which was shattered by decades of military rule.

“I will try my best for the country,” she told Agence France Presse, prior to assuming her seat.
Last Updated ( Monday, 09 July 2012 15:04 )  

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