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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 10:18 GMT
Thaksin aims to defuse protests
Thaksin Shinawatra, 18 February 2006.
Mr Thaksin is under fire for a controversial share sale
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may call for an unusual joint sitting of parliament, to try and defuse mounting political tension.

Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya said the Cabinet would discuss the special sitting on Tuesday.

Mr Thaksin's troubles mounted on Sunday when former ally Chamlong Srimuang called for the PM to resign.

Mr Chamlong is to join an anti-Thaksin rally on Sunday which is expected to be the biggest such demonstration yet.

Mr Thaksin has faced calls to resign since his family sold its stake in a telecoms company last month.

Chamlong Srimuang, who led protests in 1992 ultimately forcing the resignation of an unelected prime minister from the army, talks to reporters during a press conference in Bangkok on Jan. 31 2006
Mr Chamlong was once Mr Thaksin's mentor

The sale, which netted the family members and others $1.9bn, has angered many urban Thais, who complained the family avoided paying tax and passed control of an important national asset to Singaporean investors.

Mr Thaksin denied media reports that he had pledged to dissolve parliament if criticism intensified.

"You are thinking that yourselves, you are saying that yourselves, personally I have not said a word,'' Bloomberg News quoted him as saying.

A move to dissolve parliament would lead to new elections.

Parliamentary debate

But he did say that he would address the "political crisis" by suggesting a joint sitting of the upper and lower houses of parliament.

"It is the duty of government to explain to the public. I don't know whether it will lessen the political tension or not," he said.

Mr Chamlong continued his attack on Mr Thaksin on Monday, saying he "no longer has the legitimacy to run the country".

Another rally planned against Mr Thaksin on Sunday is expected to be much larger than previous such demonstrations, boosted by the backing of Mr Chamlong, who has thousands of supporters.

Mr Chamlong, who led an uprising that toppled Thailand's military-led government in 1992, was previously a political mentor to Mr Thaksin.

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