Obama and Sarkozy on Nobel Peace Prize list

With no major conflict resolved by peaceful means in recent months, the field of candidates for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is seen as wide open ahead of Friday’s announcement of the winner in Oslo, reports the Agence France-Presse.

The Norwegian Nobel committee made its decision only on Monday – unusually close to the announcement date – from a record list of 205 names.

“We reached a decision,” the influential secretary of the committee, Geir Lundestad, told AFP.

“We held more meetings than usual because this time there were so many candidates, two of our members are new, and we wanted to make use of all the time we have to make the right choice,” he added.

It is also likely that the committee needed more time because there was no obvious candidate.

That makes the annual guessing game – challenging at the best of times due to the secrecy shrouding the committee, its work and the identity of the candidates – even more difficult. The only names known to be on the list are those revealed by the select group eligible to nominate candidates, including members of parliament, past laureates, some university professors and the Nobel committee itself.

They include US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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