Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been named in an opinion survey as the Thai politician having given the most constructive performance during the past year.
Up to 52.1 per cent of respondents chose Ms Yingluck for the honour in the nationwide survey of 1,275 people aged 18 and older, conducted by Bangkok University's Research Institute between Dec 15 and 20.
She was followed by opposition and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (16.3 per cent), Rak Thailand Party leader Chuvit Kamolvisit (15.3 per cent) and Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung (7.1 per cent).
Ms Yingluck's elder brother, deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, scored 2.6 per cent in the same survey.
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When asked what they viewed as the most constructive project or policy of the government, 18.1 per cent of respondents chose the rice-pledging scheme.
The controversial rice policy was followed by tax rebates for first-car buyers (16.4 per cent), the minimum wage increase to 300 baht (13.8 per cent), drugs suppression campaigns (8.8 per cent) and electric train projects (7.7 per cent).
The same group of respondents chose the Thai armed forces as the most constructive organisation (8.9 per cent) in 2012, followed by Siam Cement Group (8.7 per cent), TV Channel 3 (8.5 per cent), PTT Plc (7.9 per cent) and the Royal Thai Police (7.7 per cent).
Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said Ms Yingluck should stop focusing on ensuring political gains for her brother Thaksin. She should pay more attention to solving the public's problems, as a New Year gift to Thais.
He said the government and Ms Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party were interested only in political issues such as constitutional amendment, absolution for wrongdoers and the persecution of political opponents. He urged the government to delay floating the price of cooking gas to help the poor, solve the problem of low palm nut and rubber prices, tackle corruption in the rice-pledging scheme and cushion the possible negative impacts from its decision to raise the minimum wage to 300 baht nationwide on Jan 1.
Mr Chavanond predicted a massive round of redundancies as a result of the wage rise.