Record 278 nominees for Peace Prize: Nobel Institute

OSLO (AFP) - A record 278 candidates have been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced in October in Oslo, the Nobel Institute said on Tuesday.

"The number of nominations increases almost every year, which shows a growing interest in the prize," the head of the institute, Geir Lundestad, told AFP.

"We receive nominations from absolutely everywhere in the world," he added. The Nobel committee convened on Tuesday for the first time this year to examine the candidate list.

All nominations - which can be made by lawmakers, university rectors and others deemed to have the right qualifications - had to be sent before the February 1 deadline to be valid.

At their first meeting, the five committee members themselves can add more names to the list.

The list is kept secret for at least 50 years, and Lundestad revealed only that 47 of the 278 candidates were organisations.

The name of this year's laureate is to be announced on October 10 in Oslo.

Last year saw 259 nominations, then also a record, and the prize was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), involved to this day in the dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal.

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