Six months after seizing power from the elected government, Myanmar's military leader on Sunday declared himself prime minister and said he would lead the country under the extended state of emergency until elections are held in about two years. "We must create conditions to hold a free and fair multiparty general election," Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said during a recorded televised address. "We have to make preparations. I pledge to hold the multiparty general election without fail." He said the state of emergency will achieve its objectives by August 2023, the AP reports. In a separate announcement, the military government named itself "the caretaker government" and Min Aung Hlaing the prime minister.
The state of emergency was declared when troops moved against the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, an action the generals said was permitted under the military-authored 2008 constitution. The military claimed her landslide victory in last year's national elections was achieved through massive voter fraud but offered no credible evidence. The military government officially annulled the election results last Tuesday and appointed a new election commission. The military takeover was met with public protests that resulted in a lethal crackdown by security forces, who routinely fire live ammunition into crowds. As of Sunday, 939 people have been killed by the authorities since Feb. 1, according to a count by the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
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