Suthep tops Asia Society poll

The Asia Society has named Thai protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban as its Person of the Year for 2013.

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"Thai politician Suthep Thaugsuban dominated our year-end reader poll for Asia's Person of the Year 2013 -- in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion," the US-based group said on its website.

Mr Suthep finished ahead of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl whose fight for education rights nearly cost her her life at the hands of Taliban thugs. He earned 116,000 votes, or nearly 88% of the total.

The online reader poll is not scientific and the society even acknowledged that ballot-stuffing is possible.

"During the first two days of the year, our poll page received more than 172,000 page views," it said. "Nearly 165,000 of those visits originated in Thailand. Most of the traffic came from Facebook and a handful of Thai message boards. At one point, [Suthep] had around 97% of the total vote."

Campaigning to uproot the influence of Thaksin Shinawatra, his family and associates from Thai politics, Mr Suthep has massed some of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Bangkok, prompting the dissolution of parliament and a snap election on Feb 2.

Suthep has called for a "Bangkok shutdown" campaign starting on Monday to force caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra to resign to pave the way for his political reform agenda.

The Asia Society is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to educating the world about Asia.

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