OSLO - A total of 231 nominees are up for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, the Nobel Institute said Monday, with Bill Clinton, Helmut Kohl, the EU and US soldier and WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning known to be on the list.
"As always, there are the usual 'nominees' and some newcomers, some famous and some unknowns, hailing from the four corners of the world," the head of the Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, told AFP.
With 188 individuals and 43 organisations, the number of candidates comes close to last year's record of 241, when the prestigious award went to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni "Arab Spring" activist Tawakkol Karman.
Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations, including members of parliaments and governments worldwide, university professors, past laureates and members of several international institutes, who had until February 1 to propose candidates.
The Nobel Institute keeps the names of nominees secret for 50 years, but those who are entitled to nominate are allowed to reveal the name of the person or organisation they have proposed.
Among the people known to have been nominated for this year's prize are former US president Bill Clinton, ex-German chancellor Helmut Kohl who led his country's reunification process, and Ukraine's ex-premier and now jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
Also on the list is jailed US soldier Manning, who has been charged with 22 counts in a US military court for turning over a massive cache of classified US documents to anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.
Despite its current crisis the European Union is also among the candidates, as are Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Yoani Sanchez, and Russian rights group Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina.
Yet others include US political scientist Gene Sharp, known for his theory of non-violent resistance which inspired some of the key figures behind the Arab Spring, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki who was brought to power in 2011 by the revolution in his country, and television news channel Al-Jazeera.
The winner or winners will be announced in October.