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2015 Nobel Peace Prize: The Top Contenders

Last updated on: October 08, 2015 09:04 IST

The winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize is to be named on Friday morning.The Norway-based Nobel Committee, as part of their 50-year-long tradition has not named the nominees.
However, the Nobel website did divulge that there were 273 candidates -- 68 organisations and 205 individuals -- in the fray this year.

Rediff.com takes a look at some personalities who are likely to win the prize this year.

1) Pope Francis

Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican October. Photograph: Tony Gentile/ Reuters

The Argentinian pontiff surged into the running after it emerged the Vatican had played a key role in brokering the re-establishment of relations between the US and Cuba last December.

Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, his emphasis on God's mercy, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to interfaith dialogue.

He is known for having a humble approach to the papacy, less formal than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors.

He maintains that the Church should be more open and welcoming and does not support unbridled capitalism, Marxism, or Marxist versions of liberation theology. These qualities would place him high on the Nobel committee's prospects.

Although in what could go down as a disfavour to the pope, Francis maintains the traditional views of the Church regarding abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, ordination of women, and priestly celibacy. Nevertheless, he is still the highest placed amongst any potential winners.


2) Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel scatters rose petals at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Stringer/ Reuters

Angela Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union, and on 26 March 2014, she became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union.

Referred to as "the decider" Merkel has managed to pass major decisions in domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning future energy development have been major issues during her Chancellorship.

Merkel has been named several times in the Time 100.


3) John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif

United States Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, at the United Nations in New York. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/ Reuters

The US secretary of state and the Iranian foreign minister are tipped as being obvious favourites for the prize.

Over two years of intensive diplomacy the two men crafted a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme that many had once thought impossible.

The deal, a victory for the merits of tenacious diplomacy, has been suggested by geopolitical observers as having averted another war in the Middle East. Proponents of nuclear disarment also claim that the deal is a significant victory against nuclear proliferation.

Although since President Obama has already won the prize once before it could dampen Kerry's chances of winning a second prize for the Obama administration.


4) Mussie Zerai

Eritrean priest Mussie Zerai gestures during an interview in front of Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican. Zerai, who has helped some of the thousands of African migrants who have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean sea, is among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/ Reuters

Mussie Zerai is a Roman Catholic priest known for his work with migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe during the European migrant crisis.

The Catholic priest grew up in Eritrea before joining his father in Italy as a 17-year-old political refugee, and he is now based in Switzerland.

Zerai founded Habeshia, the Agency for Cooperation and Development, in Italy in 2006 to provide solidarity for "asylum seekers, refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian protection."

The agency provides help to integrate immigrants in Italy as well as supporting those returning to their countries of origin. "Above all, our task is to give voice to the voiceless People," it says.


5) Denis Mukwege

Mukwege is specialized in the treatment of rape victims and founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic Congo. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/ Reuters

Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who founded and works in the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, which he specialises in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces.

Mukwege has been recognised as the world's leading expert on healing the internal physical damage caused by gang rape.

Mukwege has treated thousands of women who were victims of wartime gang rape since the Second Congo War, some of them more than once, performing up to 10 surgeries a day during his 18-hour working days.


6) Victor Ochen

Victor Ochen is amongst the two youngest nominees on this list.

Victor Ochen, 33, a childhood victim of war, founded the African Youth Initiative Network, in response to the insecurity of northern Uganda intended to help the healing of trauma and to promote youth leadership.


7) Dmitry Muratov

Novaya Gazeta's editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov speaks during an interview in Moscow. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/ Reuters

Dmitry Muratov is the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The Novaya Gazeta has been called "the only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today" by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Despite the killings of some of its journalists, the newspaper continues to criticize President Vladimir Putin and hold him accountable.

In 2007, Muratov was awarded an International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said he was the "driving force" in the "only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today."


8) Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden could be a dark horse on the nominee list.

Although he is a long shot in this category, Edward Snowden could be the wildcard entry in this list.

The American privacy activist and former CIA employee who leaked classified information from the US National Security Agency in 2013 in the process revealing numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the US with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

A subject of worldwide controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor. His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.