OSLO – Pope Francis, who has made the fight against poverty a focus of his tenure, and Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege are among the top contenders for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Other favorites include Edward Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who revealed secret surveillance programs, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who defied the Taliban, and Russian media outlets such as Novaya Gazeta, according to bookmakers and researchers. The winner will be announced on Oct. 10 in Oslo by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
“Pope Francis has brought attention to the fate of the poor, and the need for a new approach to development and economic redistribution,” the Peace Research Institute in Oslo said on its website. Francis was director Kristian Berg Harpviken’s favorite ahead of a final update of PRIO’s candidate shortlist, which was due Friday.
Pope Francis is favored to win the peace award by bookmakers William Hill and Paddy Power, with odds of 11-4 and 9-4, respectively. Since his election in March 2013, Francis, 77, has pleaded for a reduction of inequalities on a global basis, including in a message to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Snowden, 31, who was nominated for the prize by two Norwegian lawmakers from the Socialist Left Party, could win for revealing secret surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency in 2013 even though the leaks remain controversial. Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia as he faces prosecution in the U.S., has 10-1 odds to win at William Hill and 14-1 at Paddy Power.
Both bookmakers see Mukwege as the second-most-likely candidate to win, with odds of 5-1 at Paddy Power and 6-1 at William Hill. Mukwege, 56, is the founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of the war-plagued North Kivu province in eastern Congo. The institution specializes in the treatment of female victims of rape by rebel forces.