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Majority of Nobel jury 'objected to Obama prize'

Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 10:55am

OSLO — Three of the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee had objections to the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to US President Barack Obama, the Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang (VG) reported Thursday.

"VG has spoken to a number of sources who confirmed the impression that a majority of the Nobel committee, at first, had not decided to give the peace prize to Barack Obama," the newspaper said.

In a surprise move last Friday, the Nobel committee attributed the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama less than nine months after he had taken office.

The committee, appointed by the Norwegian parliament, honoured Obama for "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

"The committee was unanimous," its influential secretary Geir Lundestad told AFP on Friday.

But Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, who represented the right-wing populist Progress Party on the committee, led the way in objecting to the choice of Obama because she questioned his ability to keep his promises, the newspaper said.

It also said the representative of the Conservative Party, Kaci Kullmann Five, and Aagot Valle, the representative of the Socialist Left, had objections.

The choice for Obama was however strongly supported by committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland and Sissel Roenbeck, both representatives of the Labour Party.

The members of the committee represent their parties but do not sit in Norway's parliament.

"Each year, we start with many candidates and many different points of view and agree as the discussions move along. This year was no exception," Lundestad commented Thursday.

The newspaper quotes Ytterhorn and Five as saying they both supported the committee's final decision.

Obama himself said he was "surprised" and "deeply humbled" by the prize.

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