Myanmar junta is 'dissolved'
Myanmar's military handed power to a nominally civilian government after almost 50 years in power on Wednesday, as the ruling junta was disbanded and a new president appointed.world Updated: Mar 31, 2011 00:03 IST
Myanmar's military handed power to a nominally civilian government after almost 50 years in power on Wednesday, as the ruling junta was disbanded and a new president appointed.
Myanmar state television reported that the junta's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) "has been officially dissolved", quoting an order signed by Senior General Than Shwe.
Than Shwe, who has ruled with an iron fist since 1992, was referred to only as "chairman of the SPDC" in the report and has apparently been replaced as army chief.
But despite the changes the military retains a firm grip on power in Myanmar, and many analysts believe Than Shwe will attempt to retain some sort of control behind the scenes.
The SPDC, previously known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, seized power in 1988, but Myanmar has been under military authority since 1962.
The historic announcement of the nominal end of its rule came after an official said a new army chief attended the inauguration of Thein Sein apparently indicating the junta head had been replaced. General Min Aung Hlaing was present at the swearing-in as Commander in Chief of the country's army, a post held by Than Shwe until now, according to the official.
"It's not clear yet whether he has officially taken up this position," the official said.
Prime Minister Thein Sein, who shed his army uniform to contest controversial elections last year, was formally sworn in as president, the official added.
He was named in February for the top job in the new parliament, where the military hierarchy retains a stranglehold on power. "Altogether 58 new cabinet members including the president, two vice-presidents, officials and ministers were sworn in this morning at the Union Parliament" in Naypyidaw, the official added.
Myanmar also replaced signs referring to its junta on Wednesday, officials said.
Ceremonies were held across the country as the names of government offices were changed to reflect the new political system, which came into effect after an election last November that critics say was a sham to entrench military power.