The results are in. The winner of the Asia Society's Person of the Year reader poll is, surprisingly, Suthep Thaugsuban (pictured).
The leader of the'Shutdown Bangkok' protests in Thailand is an unlikely winner. In a last-minute rally through a social-media-driven campaign by his middle class support base he attracted 116,000 votes or 88% of the vote. In the wake of the poll, the Asia Society's blog filed this explanation: How Thailand’s Suthep Thaugsuban Ran Away with our Person of the Year Poll.
The result gives Suthep more credibility in his effort to drag down Thailand's elected government and replace it with less democracy, in the form of an unelected People's Council. What it once again demonstrates is that Suthep has a strong support base that is online and vocal. It is largely middle class, with perhaps as much as 85% having diplomas above high school level.
It is a cruel irony that Suthep's supporters can elect him, with strong majority, as Person of the Year. He would be wishing they could do the same in the upcoming Thai elections.
Photo by Flickr user Prachatai.