Leaders of the junta in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, are reported to have resigned from their military posts, ahead of the country's first general election in two decades.
General Than Shwe and his deputy, General Maung Aye, are reportedly among those to have stepped down.
The move would allow them to register to stand in the November election.
Observers believe General Than Shwe is unlikely to be willing to relinquish power entirely and could be interested in the post of civilian president.
The junta has said the elections are a crucial step in transferring power from the military to civilians. Critics have dismissed the vote as a sham.