The general's announcement would place Myanmar in the military's grip for nearly two and a half years – instead of the initial one-year timeline the junta announced days after the coup.

Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2021.
Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2021. (Reuters)

Myanmar's military ruler Min Aung Hlaing has taken on a new title as prime minister of a newly formed caretaker government, state media reported, six months after the army seized power from a civilian government.

Min Aung Hlaing has chaired the military-backed State Administration Council (SAC) that has run Myanmar since it was formed just after the February1 coup, and the caretaker government will replace it.

“In order to perform the country’s duties fast, easily and effectively , the state administration council has been reformed as caretaker government of Myanmar,” a newsreader on state Myawaddy television said. 

Earlier on Sunday, Min Aung Hlaing said that elections would be held and a state of emergency lifted by August 2023, extending the military's initial timeline given when it deposed Aung San Suu Kyi six months ago.

The country has been in turmoil since the army ousted the civilian leader in February, launching a bloody crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 900 people according to a local monitoring group.

A resurgent virus wave has also amplified havoc, with many hospitals empty of pro-democracy medical staff, and the World Bank has forecast the economy will contract by up to 18 percent.

In a televised address junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said on Sunday "we will accomplish the provisions of the state of emergency by August 2023."

"I pledge to hold multiparty elections without fail," he added.

The general's announcement would place Myanmar in the military's grip for nearly two and a half years – instead of the initial one-year timeline the junta announced days after the coup.

READ MORE: Millions in Myanmar are on the brink of famine: UN

ASEAN cooperation

"Myanmar is ready to work on ASEAN cooperation within the ASEAN framework including the dialogue with the ASEAN Special Envoy in Myanmar," Min Aung Hlaing said.

ASEAN foreign ministers are to meet on Monday, when diplomats say they aim to finalise a special envoy tasked with ending violence and promoting dialogue between the junta and its opponents.

Min Aung Hlaing also repeated a pledge to restore democracy, though again without detailing a time frame.

"I guarantee the establishment of a union based on democracy and federalism," he said.

Voter fraud claims

The army has justified its power grab by alleging massive fraud during 2020 elections won by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in a landslide, and has threatened to dissolve the party.

Last week it cancelled the results of the polls, announcing it had uncovered over 11 million instances of voter fraud.

Suu Kyi has been detained since February 1 and faces an eclectic raft of charges – from flouting coronavirus restrictions to illegally importing walkie talkies – which could see her jailed for more than a decade.

'Strength for the revolution'

Across Myanmar small groups of demonstrators marched on  Sunday, six months after soldiers launched their putsch with pre-dawn raids, ending a decade-long experiment with democracy.

Protesters in the northern town of Kale held banners reading "strength for the revolution" while demonstrators let off flares at a march in the commercial capital Yangon.

Tens of thousands of civil servants and other workers have either been sacked for joining rallies or are still on strike in support of a nationwide civil disobedience campaign.

The NLD saw their support increase in the 2020 vote compared to the previous election in 2015.

In a report on the 2020 polls, the Asian Network for Free Elections monitoring group said the elections were "by and large, representative of the will of the people".

READ MORE: Myanmar's Suu Kyi hit by new corruption charges in Mandalay court

Source: TRTWorld and agencies