Colombian Peace Prize Hopes Seen Scuttled as Vote Rejects Accord

The chances of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia leader Timoleon Jimenez being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize have evaporated after voters rejected a deal aimed at ending the country’s five-decade conflict, according to the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Russian activist Svetlana Gannushkina is seen as the favorite for this year’s prize, while U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, are also among top contenders, Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the Oslo-based institute that ranks potential winners each year, said at a press briefing in Oslo. Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed U.S. surveillance secrets, could also be a potential winner.

The Colombian peace process was a dealt a setback over the weekend when the people rejected the accord by a narrow margin in a referendum.

“It’s off any credible list as to who will win the prize this year,” said Harpviken at a press briefing in Oslo. “They would have been among the favorites.”

The prize, along with literature, physics and medicine honors, was created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901. Past winners include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, U.S. President Barack Obama and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.. The Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the peace prize recipient. The economics prize was instituted by the Swedish central bank.

“They wouldn’t dare,” said Asle Sveen, a Nobel historian. It “would be seen as against the people who had voted against.”

The prize winner will be announced on Oct. 7. The institute doesn’t help pick the winners.

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