A record 241 candidates have been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Institute in Oslo said 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 media, 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 1st February 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 10th December , 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.
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