Suu Kyi delays Myanmar parliament debut: party

AFP News1 July 2012
Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD colleagues are set to take their seats in Myanmar's fledgling parliament
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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) arrives at the lower house of parliament to read her parliamentary oath during a session in Naypyidaw, on May 2. After a triumphant European tour where she was lauded by crowds, stars and heads of state, Suu Kyi returns to the reality of Myanmar's politics this week when she makes her debut as a lawmaker

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has decided not to attend a new session of parliament this week to give herself time to recover from a gruelling European tour, her party said Sunday.

The 67-year-old, who returned on Saturday from a triumphant five-nation European tour after two weeks, had been due to take her place in the legislature for the first time as an elected MP on Wednesday.

But Nyan Win, spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said she had received permission from parliament not to attend the first week's sessions.

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will take time off from the parliament on June 4, 5 and 6 because she is too tired from the trip to Europe. But her health is OK," he told AFP. Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar.

She will now make her debut as an MP on the following Monday, he said.

On her first visit to Europe in 24 years Suu Kyi -- who spent almost two decades under house arrest -- delivered her long delayed Nobel lecture, met pop stars and politicians and charmed the European public with speeches on her hopes for Myanmar.

The democracy champion was swept into parliament in a landmark April by-election that saw the NLD win 43 of the 44 seats it contested.

Her party colleagues are expected to attend parliament this week, marking the NLD's entrance into mainstream politics after years of repression under junta rule that ended last year.

The parliament, still dominated by the military and its political allies, is expected to discuss recent deadly communal violence which flared in western Myanmar, among other issues.