Boosted by an email campaign by his supporters, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa is sixth in Time magazine’s poll of the 100 most influential people of 2011.
(While polling for inclusion in the 100 is now closed, voting for ranking within the shortlist continues till April 21.)
When the shortlisting closed, President Rajapaksa, whose regime is in international focus for its war crimes, had polled over 74,000 ‘yes’ votes and 21,000 ‘no’ votes. (See Time's reasons here for why he might be considered 'influential', something his fans might have missed.)
That's more than seven times that for Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg (28th) and double for American pop star Lady Gaga (12th).
Ahead of him (in ascending ranking) were China’s Buddhist nun and philanthropist, Cheng Yen, and a clutch of pop stars: Beyonce, Britain’s Susan Boyle, Taiwan’s Jay Chou and on top, South Korea’s Rain.
China’s President Hu Jintao was ranked 27th (with over 8,000 yes votes), Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin 73rd (1518 yes votes) and President Dimitri Medvedev 105th (1112 yes votes).
To see how Sonia Gandhi, Michelle Obama, Julian Assange and others fared, see the full list here.