The leading opposition party object to the oath which requires them to declare they will “safeguard the constitution”. Instead, the party want the oath to say that they must “respect the constitution”, as they want to loosen the military’s grip on power.
The dispute comes as the European Union is expected to hold a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to suspend most sanctions against Burma for a year while it assesses the country’s progress towards democracy.
The opening session of the upper house in the capital, Nyapyidaw, began without party members. Opposition lawmaker Ohn Kyaing said he believed the issue would be resolved soon as there is support within President Thein Shein’s administration to change the oath.
Changing the oath, an appendix to the constitution, would require 75 per cent of parliament’s approval. The constitution was drawn up by Burma’s former military junta.
The NLD says the current constitution is undemocratic as it automatically allocates 25 per cent of parliamentary seats to unelected representatives of the military.
It also bars people from the nation’s presidency if they or relatives are foreign citizens, preventing Aung San Suu Kyi from ascending to the presidency because she married a British national, Michael Aris, who died in 1999, and their two children, who are born abroad and do not live in Burma.