Thursday, March 2, 2006

Thailand Prime Minister Rules Out Resignation.

The besieged Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Wednesday March 1 that he would not bow to growing demands that he step down, and appealed to supporters to help him end a deepening political crisis.

"I guarantee that I will not resign from my position," Thaksin said after meeting with leaders of his ruling Thai Rak Thai party. "I will handle my responsibilities in this position as well as I can."

Anti-Thaksin activists issued an ultimatum Tuesday 28 demanding that Thaksin step down or face what they say will be the biggest anti-government rally yet on Sunday March 5. Protesters, who have staged weekend rallies drawing tens of thousands of people, want Thaksin to resign for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

Thaksin's comments came as rumours swirled that either he would resign to end Thailand's worst political crisis in a decade or that the military would intervene and stage a coup, which top military officials dismissed.

"Rumours of a military coup are not true," Supreme Commander Gen Rueangrot Mahasaranon, head of the country's armed forces, said. The political problem should be resolved by politicians." Thaksin met Tuesday with military leaders over lunch at his office.

Hoping to stave off the rally planned for Sunday, Thaksin called on supporters to flood his office with mail over the next few days to show they still wanted him in power. [Via AP]

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