Bush, Blair, EU Among Nominees for 2004 Nobel Peace Prize
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 1, 2004; 9:55 AM
OSLO, Norway -- President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the European Union were among known nominees for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize as the nomination deadline expired Sunday.
The five-member Norwegian awards committee, which keeps the names of candidates secret, accepts nominations postmarked by Feb. 1.
Last year there were a record 165 nominations for the prize, which went to Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi.
Even though the committee keeps the nomination list secret for 50 years, those making the nominations often announce their candidate.
Norwegian lawmaker Jan Simonsen of the right-wing Party of Progress has nominated Bush and Blair several years in a row, including this year.
Simonsen wrote that by removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, they lessened the chance of a war using weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and laid the foundation for the development of democracy.
Norwegian experts, including Stein Toennesson, director of the Peace Research Institute-Oslo, last year gave Bush and Blair no chance of winning, mainly because a vast majority of Norwegians, including members of the awards committee, were deeply opposed to the war in Iraq.
Former Labor Party leader Thorbjoern Jagland, also a former Norwegian prime minister, nominated the European Union for ensuring peace and security in Europe.
Others believed to be nominated include Pope John Paul II, the Salvation Army and former Czech President Vaclev Havel.
The committee is appointed by but does not answer to Norway's parliament. It will announce its decision in mid-October.
The Nobel Prizes are always awarded Dec. 10, the anniversary of their creator Alfred Nobel's death. The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, and the other prizes in Stockholm, Sweden.
The prize includes a $1.35 million cash award.
© 2004 The Associated Press