In a speech on Sunday, Min Aung Hlaing reiterated his pledge to hold elections by 2023 and said his administration was ready to work with a future regional envoy for Myanmar.
The announcement and speech came exactly six months after the military seized power on February 1 from a civilian government following an election won by the ruling Aung San Suu Kyi party, but the army called it fraudulent.
Min Aung Hlaing chaired the State Administrative Council (SAC) which was formed just after the coup and which has ruled Myanmar since then, and the interim government will replace him.
“In order to carry out the country’s tasks quickly, easily and efficiently, the state’s board of directors has been reconstituted as the interim government of Myanmar,” said a public broadcaster Myawaddy.
He added: “I guarantee the establishment of a union based on democracy and federalism”.
Shortly after the coup, junta leaders promised new elections within two years. The reference Sunday to August 2023 was interpreted by some local media as extending this six-month deadline.
Min Aung Hlaing also said his administration would work with any special envoy appointed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday, when diplomats say they aim to finalize a special envoy tasked with ending the violence and promoting dialogue between the junta and its opponents.
The military seized power after Suu Kyi’s ruling party won an election which the military said was tainted with fraud. He said his takeover was constitutionally compliant. The country’s electoral commission has dismissed the fraud allegations.
After the coup, Suu Kyi, 75, was charged with several crimes. His trial for illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios and violating coronavirus protocols is set to resume Monday.
Months of protests
The military authorities have had to deal with months of protests, strikes that paralyzed the public and private sectors and a resurgence of armed conflicts in border regions.
The authorities called their opponents terrorists.
“At present, the whole country is stable except for a few terrorist attacks,” Min Aung Hlaing said in his speech.
The political prisoner assistance association activist group accused the armed forces of killing 939 people while suppressing dissent since the coup and said at least 6,990 military opponents have been arrested.
The military said the number of protesters killed is much lower and members of the armed forces have also died in the violence. He said his response was in line with international standards in the face of threats to national security.