Olav Njolstad, the Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, told Russian news agency TASS on Monday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will not be nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, as the deadline for nomination expired on January 31st – roughly three weeks before Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine.
“Generally speaking, the Committee cannot extend the nomination period for the Peace Prize, which expired on January 31st. However, committee members have the right to nominate their candidates before the committee’s first formal annual meeting. This year it (the meeting) took place on February 28,” Njolstad said.
A few days ago, nearly 40 European lawmakers penned a letter to the Nobel Committee urging them to extend the nomination deadline to March 31st in order to nominate Zelensky, who has received global fanfare for hunkering down in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv – rather than evacuating, as US officials offered – and emboldening Ukrainians to defend against Russia’s onslaught.
“We believe that now is the time to show the people of Ukraine that the world is on their side. We therefore humbly call upon you, the Committee, to consider: Extending and thereby re-opening the nomination procedure for the Nobel Peace Prize until March 31, 2022 to allow for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine,” read the letter, which was signed by former European heads of state and other prominent politicians, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“It is our democratic duty to stand up to authoritarianism and to support a people fighting for democracy and their right to self-government. The veneer of civilization is paper-thin, we are its guardians and we can never rest,” the letter concluded.
According to the committee, 343 candidates have been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, of which 251 are individuals and 92 are organizations. The number of nominees in 2022 was the second-largest in history – dwarfed only by 2016, when then there were 376 candidates.