Online readers of the Guardian newspaper have voted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as most deserving to be awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. In a poll posted Monday, the Islamic Republic leader had by Tuesday night raked in 69 percent of the online voters, more than four times the number of votes raked in by the second most popular nominee, Pakistani political and social activist Malala Yousafza.
The poll officially closes Wednesday.
Nominees appearing in the Guardian’s poll list were suggested by a number of the publication’s leading journalists and do not reflect the Nobel Prize committee’s actual opinions.
Rouhani was nominated by the Guardian’s Iran reporter, Saeed Kamali Dehghan. Dehghan described the Iranian leader as an “ultimate insider who enjoys backing both from the country’s supreme leader” and from “reform-seeking critics.” He went on to claim that Rouhani had kick-started “a new chapter for improved relations with the West,” and had broken a “34-year-long taboo of direct talks with the US.” Awarding Rouhani with a Nobel Peace Prize, Dehghan argued, would push him to help spread moderation across the Iranian nation.
Other candidates suggested by the Guardian included Olivier De Schutter, a UN official and an advocate for the global right to food; Teresita Quintos Deles, a women’s rights and anti-poverty activist from the Philippines; and Denis Mukwege, an outspoken critic of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also nominated was the flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman, described by the Guardian as both a “clown and a maverick,” but nevertheless, an “imaginative” activist. Rodman raised a few eyebrows for his numerous travels to North Korea throughout the past year, in an attempt to “bridge the gap” between the US and the isolated regime.
The real Nobel Peace Prize candidates will be officially announced Friday, and the award winner will be declared later that same day.