Oslo: A record 241 candidates have been
nominated for this year`s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel
Institute in Oslo said on Tuesday, with WikiLeaks and people linked
to revolutions in the Arab world known to be in the running.
"It increases almost every year," Nobel Institute
director Geir Lundestad told AFP, pointing out that in 2010,
the record-breaking number had been 237 candidates.
The names of nominees are kept secret by the institute
for 50 years, but the Nobel Institute revealed that the list
this year is made up of 53 organisations and 188 individuals.
Without disclosing the name of the candidates,
Lundestad acknowledged that the 2011 list of nominees was
influenced by the popular uprisings in the Arab world.
"We have received several proposals that reflect the
situation we are seeing," especially in Tunisia, Egypt and
Libya, he said.
Those who are entitled to nominate are allowed to
reveal the name of the person or organisation they have
proposed, if they wish to do so, and it is already known that
WikiLeaks are on this year`s list.
Thousands of people are eligible to submit
nominations, including members of parliaments and governments
worldwide, university professors, previous laureates and
members of several international institutes, who had until
February 1 to propose candidates.
The Nobel Committee that awards the prize is also
eligible to nominate candidates during its first meeting which
was held on Monday.
The name of the winner will be announced in early
October, and the award will be presented at a formal ceremony
held -- as tradition dictates -- on December 10, the
anniversary of the death of the Swedish creator of the prize
and inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel.
Last year, the Nobel Committee`s five members, who are
appointed by the Norwegian parliament, drew the ire of Beijing
when they handed the prestigious award to jailed Chinese
dissident Liu Xiaobo.
China said the move would harm ties with Norway and
has since cancelled official bilateral meetings and
indefinitely postponed negotiations on a free trade agreement
between the two countries.