Myanmar's army chief insisted Monday that a military coup to oust the country's civilian leaders was justified by 'voter fraud', but pledged to hand back power after elections.

In his first televised speech since last week's coup, General Min Aung Hlaing said the country's election commission and civilian leaders had failed to properly investigate allegations of rigging in November's election.

"In order to maintain and protect the democratic system, Tamataw (the armed forces) in line with the 2008 constitution declared a state of emergency," he said.