Myanmar’s military leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing declared himself prime minister of the country on Sunday, saying he planned on being in charge for two years during an extended state of emergency before holding an election in 2023.
Min Aung Hlaing’s announcement comes six months after Myanmar’s democratically elected government was overthrown in a military coup, sparking waves of protests throughout the country in which nearly 1,000 protesters were killed by the country’s security forces.
“We must create conditions to hold a free and fair multiparty general election,” Min Aung Hlaing said on Sunday, The Associated Press reports. “We have to make preparations. I pledge to hold the multiparty general election without fail.”
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), nearly 7,000 people have been arrested and over 5,000 are currently detained or have been sentenced. Myanmar’s military overthrew its democratically elected government in February, claiming the election had been marred by fraud. Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party had won the election, was arrested. She has since been charged with multiple crimes including illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios and violating COVID-19 rules. Her trial is set to resume on Monday.
In April, The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that its member states had come to an agreement regarding Myanmar, appointing an envoy to oversee talks aimed at ending the violence in Myanmar.
However, the AP notes that progress on this plan has since stalled. As Reuters reports, Min Aung Hlaing said in his address that his administration would work with any envoy that ASEAN appoints. ASEAN foreign ministers are set to meet on Monday to finalize a special envoy for Myanmar.