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"No definite Nobel favourite"

There are no definite favourite three weeks before the Nobel Peace Prize winner will to be announced. Peace researcher Stein Tønnesson mentioned Brazil’s president, an Irish oppositional and a Catholic humanitarian organization as possible winners.

A record number of 165 candidates have been nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize this year, according to Geir Lundestad, the director at the Nobel Institute. He adds that most of the candidates are very timely and good candidates.

“There are few of them who are not taken seriously. There is a couple of the type Michael Jackson candidates, but here are not many of those,” Lundestad said.

The Nobel committee will probably make its decision as soon as its meeting September 29, but the committee will be able to have one more meeting before the winner is announced in three weeks time. The winner’s name is always a well kept secret, and this year the presence of favourites is greatly missed.

No favourites

“I must admit that I have a hard time finding any big favourites. There is no one who has done anything in the big conflicts. This includes both Hans Blix, Jacques Chirac and Mohammed El Baradei in the Iraq conflict,” Tønnesson said to TV 2 Nettavisen.

He said the fact that the Iraq war took place is the reason why they fought against the war and that does not make them good candidates.

Lula de Silva

A person that Tønnesson wants to highlight is the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“He has a program in order to do something about the injustice in South America. It is an essential question which falls under the peace prize’s ideas. The objection against him is that he is so new,” Tønnesson said. Tønnesson is the director at Fredforskningsinstituttet, the peace research centre, in Oslo.

He claims the price the Peace Prize in the past couple of years has been awarded some people who have not done so much good afterwards, like for example the South Korean president Kim Dae Jung.

Other possible winners may be a good Muslim candidate, the Catholic society St. Egidio or an organization which has done a lot to combat AIDS in Africa.

“A Muslim with a clear democratic conviction may be a good candidate. Iranian Hashem Aghajari is someone I have thought much about. He is working to reform the clerical government in Iran. This would give a signal about the necessity of reform in Iran and that pressure from the outside is not the best way to handle the problem,” Tønnesson said.

Tønnesson said he believes that it is most likely that the committee chose a winner who is involved in humanitarian work.

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