Army insists there will be no coup d'etat
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was granted an audience with His Majesty the King at Klaikangwol Palace yesterday evening as rumours swirled of an impending coup.
Speculation of a military revolt spread throughout the capital after a renowned academic said some 40 tanks were making their way from Army bases in Saraburi province.
Chai-anan Samudvanija, rector of Vajiravudh College, told a seminar on political consciousness at Chulalongkorn University that the tanks had reached Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya province, about 60 kilometres from Bangkok.
Army spokesman Colonel Akra Tiproj flatly denied any such move, saying a convoy of about 10 trucks was passing on Phaholyothin Highway to return military personnel to their bases after an annual exercise.
"There is nothing special about those trucks on the road," Akra said. "There will be no coup. The Army commander already confirmed the military's stance that we will not stage a coup because it would only further wound the country."
The apparently mistaken report appeared to be the latest in a string of rumours that officers from Class 10 of the Royal Military Academy, with whom Thaksin graduated, would try to take over the government. Meanwhile, Supreme Commander General Ruengroj Masaranont said the election commissioners should heed the advice of the three top courts and step aside to give the judiciary free rein to unlock the political impasse.
He reiterated the military's appeal for the Election Commission and other parties to follow the courts' recommendations on how to put politics back on course. Army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratklin and his Navy counterpart Admiral Satirapan Keyanon made similar pleas earlier in the week.
"Thais love His Majesty the King and should ask themselves what they can do to make him happy," Ruengroj said, suggesting that the restoration of peace and harmony under democratic rule would greatly please the King.
All individuals involved in the political crisis are adults and capable of working out by themselves what should be done, he said.
As military leaders stepped forward to back the judiciary in its effort to work out a political solution, a dinner party for the top brass was hosted by caretaker Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana on Thursday.
Satirapan said the gathering was a private matter and should not be construed as giving out a political message.