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Barroso, Kohl and Esperanto contenders for Nobel Peace Prize

18th February 2008

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ex-German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Esperanto are seen as contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize as the 2008 nomination period draws to a close.

The Nobel committee only considers nominees whose names have been sent in and postmarked by the February 1 deadline. The name of the winner will be announced in October.

Last year, former US vice president Al Gore and the UN's top climate change panel IPCC were jointly honoured for their efforts to raise awareness about climate change.

Global warming had dominated the headlines and was therefore not a surprise winner, but the committee's choice did broaden the scope of the prize beyond the traditional definition of peace.

Speculation is always rife about who will win the Nobel Peace Prize, but any guessing is just that since the committee keeps the names of the nominees a well-kept secret for 50 years.

However, those who nominate candidates are entitled to go public with the name of their nominee.

Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations, including members of parliament and government worldwide, as well as university professors, previous laureates and members of several international institutes.

Former laureate, ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, has proposed Kohl for the role he played in bringing a peaceful end to the Cold War and promoting European reconciliation, according to German press reports.

The Nobel committee insists however that it is not swayed by public campaigns and media hype, which it says can even be counter-productive.

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