Record 205 nominees for 2009 Nobel Peace Prize


Oslo : A record number of nominations, in all 205, have been made for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Institute said Friday.

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The tally includes 172 individuals and 33 organisations, besting the 2005 number of 199 nominations.

Public broadcaster NRK reported that US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were among the nominees.

The nomination number was released a day after the five-member Nobel committee held its first session. Two of the members, including Norwegian parliament Speaker Thorbjorn Jagland who heads the committee, were new elects.

Jagland, a Social Democrat, has also held the posts of prime minister and foreign minister. Last year he said he was leaving Norwegian politics.

The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari who was recognised for mediating in a number of international conflicts.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute was set up in 1904 to aid the Nobel Committee to vet candidates. The Nobel Committee advises nominators not to announce their proposals. However, there are no rules against the procedure allowing plenty of speculation before the announcement, normally in mid-October.

Among names mentioned in recent years are former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, as well as the Austrian-based relief organization SOS Children’s Villages and the European Union.

Among those who have the right to nominate candidates for the coveted award are parliamentarians, academics, former peace prize laureates as well as current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The Peace Prize is one of the prizes endowed by Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.