Former NYC mayor to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani will be nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against crime in the Big Apple, a Swede leading the campaign told AFP on Thursday.

“It’s not just peacemakers and mediators who win the prize nowadays. Humanitarian efforts are also rewarded,” a former Swedish MP and ex-consul general in New York, Olle Wästberg, said.

Giuliani served as mayor from 1994 until 2002, after guiding the city through the trauma of the September 11, 2001 terrorist strike on the World Trade Center.

In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Wästberg wrote: “The principal motive is that Giuliani symbolizes the civic contributions that led to New York becoming one of the safest cities in the world, a city where people need no longer fear violence.”

He said that compared to 1994 when Giuliani took office, there were now 10,000 fewer murders, 15,000 fewer women raped and 800,000 fewer families and businesses suffered from theft or burglary.

“I believe that he has, through his political efforts, saved more human lives than most people alive today,” Wästberg said.

“In addition to preventing crime, he has prevented a lot of people from sitting in prison,” he said, calling American prisons “unequivocally inhumane”.

Giuliani’s nomination will come too late for the 2005 edition of the prize, to be announced in October. Candidates’ names must be sent to the Nobel Committee in Oslo and postmarked by February 1 each year.

Those entitled to submit nominations for the prize include past laureates, current members of parliament and cabinet ministers from around the world and some university professors.

Since he is no longer an MP, Wästberg cannot formally nominate a candidate. But he has rounded up support for Guiliani’s nomination among a group of Swedish legislators who will present his name shortly.

For the 2005 edition of the prize, a record 199 individuals and organisations have been nominated, with Irish U2 rock star Bono, the late pope John Paul II and Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko in the running.

Last year, the prestigious award went to Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and the first environmentalist to win the award.