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Pope Francis, Russia's Putin nominated for Nobel prize

Record number of nominees for peace prize, awarded in October

05 March, 14:08
Pope Francis, Russia's Putin nominated for Nobel prize (ANSA) - Rome, March 5 - Pope Francis has been named one of 278 candidates for the next Nobel Peace Prize, along with such controversial figures as Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an official list released Wednesday.

The Director the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Geir Lundestad, said the list includes 47 organizations as well as individuals, with a winner to be announced on October 10.

Other nominees include American whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants opposed to education for females.

Putin was reportedly nominated for his role in the Syrian crisis, but it is widely expected that the Nobel prize committee will also be closely watching his involvement in the Ukraine where the presence of Russian troops is raising fears of war.

Lundestad said this year has seen a record number of nominees, whose names can be put forward by any elected politician from a national assembly, former laureates, international lawmakers and university professors.

He added that the names of nominees are generally kept secret but many nominators choose to make their choice public.

Pope Francis, previously named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013, has become a media darling as many have applauded his efforts to break from the style of past popes and establish himself as a pontiff of the people, willing to speak out on concrete issues of poverty, social justice, and human rights.

The Nobel committee is expected to narrow the candidates list to as few as 25 by the end of next month.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 94 times to 126 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2013, including 101 individuals and 25 organizations. Last year, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was awarded the prize.