Military leader Min Aung Hlaing expresses intention to shift to civilian rule

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Naypyitaw: Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday expressed the intention to seek a shift to civilian rule in his first interview with foreign media after the February 1 coup.

The General’s comments in an online interview with Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television, reported NHK World.

He said the military’s purpose is to establish a federal state based on multi-party democracy. He said the shift can take place within 12 or 18 months if circumstances allow.

He appeared to suggest that the military rule is only temporary in a bid to obtain understanding from anti-coup protesters and the international community, reported NHK World.

However, he did not mention the timing of an election for launching a civilian government in the released part of the interview.

He also denied media reports that more than 800 civilians have been killed in clashes with security forces that fired at them. A human rights group in Myanmar has reported the number, reported NHK World.

Min Aung Hlaing said the actual fatalities are as many as 300. He said the clashes have also left 47 people dead and more than 200 injured in the police.

On February 1, the Myanmar military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup triggered mass protests and was met by deadly violence.

Myanmar’s military seized power in the country, announcing a one-year state of emergency and vowing to take action against alleged voter fraud during the November 8 general election.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, along with other top officials accused of election fraud, were placed under house arrest in the coup.