2 May 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi joins Myanmar parliament

10:49 pm on 2 May 2012

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sworn in as a member of Myanmar's parliament, a month after her party's sweeping victory in by-elections.

Ms Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) had initially refused to take part in a swearing-in ceremony due to the wording of an oath.

But on Monday they agreed to compromise, as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the country, the BBC reports.

The ceremony marks the first time the Nobel laureate has held public office.

Ms Suu Kyi told reporters after the ceremony that she and her fellow NLD lawmakers would "carry out our duties within the parliament as we have been carrying out our duties outside the parliament for the last 20 or so years".

She also said it did not "bother" her to sit with the military despite her long fight for democracy.

Despite their poll victory on 1 April, Ms Suu Kyi and her fellow NLD lawmakers will remain very much in the minority in parliament.

A quarter of the seats are reserved for the military and a large majority of the others are held by the military-backed ruling party.

But the introduction of the Aung San Suu Kyi-led opposition into parliament marks a key step as Myanmar's new government continues to reform, observers say.