Embattled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra appealed to supporters Wednesday to help him end a deepening political crisis, as military officers dismissed speculation of a possible coup.
"Rumors of a military coup are not true," Supreme Commander Gen. Rueangrot Mahasaranon, head of the country's armed forces, told reporters. "The military will not interfere in the political conflict. The political problem should be resolved by politicians."
Hoping to stave off a mass anti-government 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.
"I am appealing to all Thai people who want peace and democracy to send post cards and letters," Thaksin told reporters, adding that he would post all the messages outside his government compound "to make the opposition realize they should cooperate with the government to tackle the crisis."
In an effort to head off mounting calls for his resignation, Thaksin dissolved Parliament on Friday and called for a snap election. But the election has become another crisis for Thaksin, with the opposition saying it will boycott the vote, scheduled for April 2.
Anti-Thaksin activists issued an ultimatum Tuesday demanding that Thaksin step down or face what they say will be the biggest anti-government rally yet on Sunday. Protesters, who have staged weekend rallies drawing tens of thousands of people, want Thaksin to resign for alleged corruption and abuse of power.
Thaksin met Tuesday with military leaders over lunch at his office, prompting speculation that army chiefs at the meeting had suggested the prime minister resign.
"We had lunch, and I have not heard of the army chief saying that sort of thing," Rueangrot said, reports the AP.
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