Myanmar's ruling junta is seeking to create a "discipline-flourishing democracy", the military announced on Thursday at a ceremony commemorating the national Independence Day.
"We are working for the emergence of discipline-flourishing democracy through National Convention process," announced Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Than Shwe in a written message to the 59th Independence Day celebration held for the first time in Nay Phi Taw, the country's new capital situated about 300 km north of Yangon.
Nay Phi Taw Commander Brigadier-General Wai Lwin read out Than Shwe's message during the flag hoisting ceremony at the capital's City Hall Square.
Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) - as Myanmar's ruling junta styles itself - since 1992, was absent from the ceremony, observers said.
The 73-year-old general is reportedly receiving medical treatment in Singapore for an unspecified illness.
Myanmar, which won its independence from its former colonial master Britain in 1948, has been under near continual military rule since 1962.
Former strongman General Ne Win overthrew the post-independence elected government of prime minister U Nu in 1962 and remained in power until 1988, when nationwide anti-military demonstrations forced his resignation from all political posts.
After a brief period of semi-civilian rule in 1988, a new junta seized power and launched a bloody crackdown on demonstrators that left an estimated 3,000 people dead.
Despite a general election in 1990 that was won by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar has remained under military rule since the putsch of 1988.
The SPDC claims it will turn over political power to an elected government after the completion of the National Convention process, which is drafting a new constitution.
The convention process has been broadly criticised as a "sham", designed to perpetuate military rule in Myanmar, or what the junta has now termed "discipline-flourishing democracy".
"It is high time to discard the sham National Convention and all its effluent waste which the military group is trying to use to justify their wrongs and prolong their evil misrule," said the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), an umbrella group for various pro-democracy and ethnic minority groups in Myanmar.