Myanmar Lawmakers Denied Seats by Coup Hold Their Own Swearing-in Ceremony

By The Irrawaddy 4 February 2021

Around 70 lawmakers from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) took parliamentary oaths of office at an improvised swearing-in ceremony Thursday, three days after the Parliament to which they were elected last year was abolished by the military coup on what was to be its first day.

The informal ceremony took place at the government guesthouse in Naypyitaw, where lawmakers normally stay during parliamentary sessions. Until Wednesday, the facility housed more than 400 elected MPs, the majority of them from the NLD. Most of the lawmakers obeyed a military order on Wednesday instructing them to leave the capital within 24 hours, but nearly six dozen chose to remain. Due to their small number, authorities agreed to let them stay until Saturday.

On Thursday, the remaining MPs grabbed the chance to take the oath denied them by the coup.

Daw Phyu Phyu Thin, a re-elected NLD lawmaker, described Thursday’s event as a “convening of the Parliament”, saying the venue didn’t matter as long as there were lawmakers in attendance.

“No one can take away the legitimacy of the MP status granted to us by the people. That’s why we took oaths as parliamentarians—for the people,” she said, while condemning the military regime for staging the coup and suing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the President on ridiculous charges.

Other MPs who have already returned home will soon take their oaths online, she said.

On Thursday afternoon, people across the country joined a clapping campaign to endorse the oaths.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the November election, but the military staged a takeover on Monday, claiming the polling was marred by fraud.

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