As it happened: Nobel Peace Prize 2015

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Nobel Peace Prize Committee Secretary Olav Njølstad during the announcement of the 2015 award on Friday in Oslo. Photo; NTB Scanpix
09:57 CEST+02:00
The winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize has been announced. Find out whether one of the favourites took home the award or whether there was a shock in store.
  • Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
  • 205 individuals and 68 groups were nominated for this year's prize 
  • Favourites Pope Francis and Angela Merkel have missed out 

This blog is now closed

11.55am Thanks and farewell for now

That's it for The Local's live blog of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Stay tuned to The Local Norway throughout the day for more coverage of the reaction to the announcement of the prize.

11.45am Interview with Kaci Kullmann Five

“It (the prize) is a message both to the region and to the rest of the world. Out of the Arab Spring countries, Tunisia is the only one where the development has proven so successful," Norwegian Nobel Committee head Kaci Kullmann Five has told journalists.

"We want to point to the fact that it is possible for Islamistic and secular movements to work together.”

Five said the decision to award to the prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was very difficult, but that the members were unanimous on the decision.

You can hear her speaking about the significance of the prize in this brief video:



She refused to comment on discussions that had taken place behind closed doors but noted the decision had been taken at the last meeting of committee.

“You never make the decision until the last meeting. You have to have an open mind.

"We are very satisfied with the outcome," she said.

"I am proud to see their are candidates like the quartet..and to see what they have achieved in their work.

Five also the Nobel committee had not been in direct contact with members of the quartet, but that others had been in contact with them.

"I am looking forward to meeting the members of the quarter in December".

But Kullman Five said that committee had not yet decided who would actually represent the Quartet. There can only be one Laureate, she specified.

11.40am Interviews coming up

While we are waiting, here's a little more Kaci Kullmann Five, the chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

A Conservative MP and former consultant for Norway’s big business lobby, she was the first female President of Norwegian Young Conservatives.
She has been on the Nobel Committee since 2000, starting as a deputy member between 2000 and 2003, after which she was one of the five full members.
Øivind Stenersen, a historian with the Nobel-prize dedicated history site Nobeliana said she was seen as someone without strong opinions who seeks consensus, but who is very smart.
"She’s an experienced politician, she’s not too strong, and is very rational and will listen to all the arguments. She is a very good choice," she told The Local's Richard Orange recently.
11.30am Is that all there is?

The journalists are packing up and the first Champagne bottles are being opened, but is that really all there is? Of course not.



While today is all about the excitement of the announcement, the actual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony won’t take place until December 10th.

On that day, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates will be at Oslo Town Hall to receive their Nobel Peace Prize medal from the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, with King Harald V of Norway on hand as well, as well as all sorts of other bigwigs. 

And in case you are concerned about the winner only taking home a gold medal, don’t be. This is not the Olympics. Winners also get a lovely certificate and a rather fun payment of 8 million Swedish kronor, or a little under $1 million.

11.25am No comment on Angela Merkel

During a rather subdued question time, Kaci Kullmann Five of the Norwegian Nobel Institute refuses to comment on whether Angel Merkel would also have been a worth winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work during Europe's asylum seeker crisis.

She doesn't single out Isis or other Arab and Middle Eastern states but says the Tunisian example sends a "loud and clear" message to the rest of the world.


Here is the Hassine Abassi, head of the Tunisian General Labour Union.



11.10am More on the winners, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet: 

The example of Tunisia underscores the value of dialogue and a sense of national belonging in a region marked by conflict, says the Norwegian Nobel committee.
The committee hopes this year’s prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be a signal to all those who seek to promote peace.
"More than anything the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people."
The quartet is made up of the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. 
11.02am And the winner is...

In a shock move, the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 has been awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for their work in building democracy after the Jasmine Revolution.

It established an alternative political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war and enabled Tunisia to establish a constitutional government.
It's hard to think of more worthy winners, given the strife in North Africa and the Middle East since the Arab Spring revolutions.
10.59 A fancy graph

We love this graph of the selection procedure for the Nobel Peace Prize although we have no idea what it means. Can anybody help?



10.55am Silence everybody

Here's the scene in Oslo as the clock ticks towards 11am.



10.53am And while we wait: ever wanted your own Nobel Prize?

Whoever wins will have the opportunity to cash in in later life, giving the growing auction market for Nobel Prizes. That means you could grab one at auction.

US scientist James Watson made a record $4.76 million when he sold off his medal in December 2014 — more than double the amount the heirs of his co-recipient, Francis Crick of Britain, obtained when they sold his medal just 20 months earlier.
The buyer, a Russian-Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov then gave it back to him in recognition of his brilliant contribution to science.
10.51 Minutes away

We are only a matter of minutes from learning who will be the proud winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The presentation is about to begin. Heavy doors are swinging shut. How exciting!

10.50am Placing bets

It wouldn't be a Nobel Prize blog without a mention of the betting odds. Swedish betting agency Betsson closed their odds at 6am this morning. At the time, Angela Merkel overwhelmingly led with odds of 4 to 1.

“We were forced to put down the odds because so many players bet on her,” said Robin Olenius, the company’s PR manager

10.47am Home ground advantage?

Is the Nobel Prize like football? Do homegrown heroes stand a better chance?

Statistics show that the Nobel Peace Prize is seriously biased towards Norwegians. Of the 103 individuals who have won the award, one was Norwegian – or just under one percent of the total.

However, there are only five million people in Norway, or only 0.07 percent of the world’s population of seven billion or so. We at The Local are not sure why this has not been investigated.

Seriously though, it appears Norwegians don’t enjoy special treatment in Oslo. The only native son to win the prize is national hero and explorer extraordinaire Fridtjof Nansen, who did everything from pioneering extreme cross country skiing to almost making it to the North Pole.

More importantly, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his amazing work as the First High Commissioner for Refugees at the League of Nations, a role which saw him organizing the exchange of prisoners of war long after the end of the First World War.

Nansen’s name also lives on in the annual UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award which recognizes individuals, groups, and organizations for outstanding service to the cause of refugees, or displaced and stateless people.       

He's a bit of an all-round hero actually.

10.43am Fun fact time!

OK, so perhaps fun isn’t the best word here, but three Nobel Peace Prize winners have actually been under arrest at the time of winning the award.

They are German pacifist and journalist Carl von Ossietzky, who won the prize in 1936 for exposing Germany's efforts at rearmament after the First World War, current Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who remains in prison after calling for the end of China’s one-party state.

10.40am The woman's issue

As with the other Nobel Prizes, there is a heavy gender balance in favour of men when it come to the peace gong. Sixteen women have won the award. That's out of a total of 103 individual recipients. Not everyone is happy about this:



10.34am Show time

Journalists and officials are now mingling in anticipation. There's excited hubbub in the room, or as excited as it gets in this part of the world.

We are — in spirt if not in body — beneath the gold chandeliers of The Norwegian Nobel Institute, in Store Sal, Henrik Ibsens Gate 51, Oslo.
According to Secretary of Peace, the tell-all memoir of former Nobel Secretary Geir Lundestad, the Nobel Foundation tried to sell this iconic building in order to fund a larger building in Stockholm.

More on that particular drama here
10.22am Outsider tips

Norway's VG newspaper has suggested Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger, as a possibility for the prize, citing Øivind Stenersen from Nobeliana,

"That would be a tough prize,” he said. “They would be daring to confront Saudi Arabia. If he got the prize what little hair I have would stick right up on end.”

An even more unlikely tip is, however, Queen Sofia of Spain, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a US university for her commitment to research into Alzheimer's Disease.



10.14am Last-minute favourites

Speculation is as intense as usual as we head down the final straight towards the announcement of this year’s prize.

The website Nobeliana, run by Nobel-loving historians have just put two elderly Japanese survivors of the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as favourites as well as ICAN, a global organisation fighting to abolish nuclear weapons.

Nobelia has placed Pope Francis as its second favourite while the United Nations Refugee committee (UNHCR) and Angela Merkel in third place.

And this from news agency AFP:

According to Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the Peace Research Instituteof Oslo (PRIO), Merkel is an obvious choice "for staking out a more humane course" in Europe's response to the crisis which has seen more than 630,000 people landing on the continent's doorstep this year.

"Angela Merkel is the one who really took a moral leadership," he said.

Asked about Merkel's chances of winning, European Commission chiefJean-Claude Juncker was blunt.

"In any case, she has deserved it more than Barack Obama," he said, referring to the controversy over the US president's 2009 Nobel peace win in his first year in office before he had even achieved anything.

10.08am Hello Twitter. Anyone home? 

With only 50 minutes to go, there's growing excitement on Twitter, with #NobelPeacePrize near the top of most trending topics in Norway:



Story continues below…

10.06 No rumours in Norwegian press

The new Norwegian Nobel Committee chair, Kaci Kullman Five, seems to be running a tight ship. Not even a whisper of a rumour in Norwegian press this morning on who the winner might be, let alone a leak. 

10.00 Hold onto your hats, folks

Good morning everyone and welcome to The Local's live blog of the announcement of Norway's Nobel Peace Prize for 2015.

It's been a big week of Nobel action in Stockholm already, with the usual set of surprises in the unveiling of the medicine, physics, chemistry and literature prizes, including — almost unbelievably — a hotly-tipped favourite actually taking home the gong.

But attention now moves across the border from cool Stockholm to elegant Olso, where the winner of the Peace Prize will be announced at 11am.

The prize goes to the person or organization who has "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

But while the prize may be all about peace, the reactions it stirs up are often far from calm: none of the other Nobel Prizes can match the Peace Prize for its sheer ability to divide critics.

While last year's joint awarding of the award to teenager Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for their work in campaigning for children's right to education was rightly applauded, the handing of the prize to European Union in 2012 was far less popular.

There were also plenty of raised eyebrows in 2009 when US President Barack Obama won the 2009 Peace Prize.

Whichever way things go this morning, there is a good chance someone is going to be less than impressed.

So who's going to win?

The list of possible candidates is reported to be 273 names (68 organizations and 205 individuals) long but a few names are being bandied about more than others.

Among the highest profile names are German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her leadership role in tackling Europe's asylum seeker crisis and US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif for their work in brokering the Iran nuclear deal.

Mussie Zerai outside St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican recently. Photo: AFP/NTB

Also on the not-so-short list are Eritrean Catholic priest Mussie Zerai, who helps rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean, and Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Congo who has performed surgery on some 40,000 female victims of sexual abuse in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and whose work is supported by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck.

Throw Pope Francis and whistleblower Edward Snowden into the mix and anything can and probably will happen.  

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