First Time in 114-Year History, Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Demoted

The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize has demoted its chairman, for the first time in the 114-year history of the award. Jagland has been a lightning rod for criticism of awards including to Barack Obama in 2009, less than a year after the US president took office, to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and to the European Union in 2012.Thorbjoern Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister of the Labour Party who has chaired the five-member panel since 2009, will now be a mere member of the committee that has received a near-record 276 nominees for the 2015 prize. Jagland’s demotion could make an award critical of President Vladimir Putin more likely, since Russia is a Council member. No serving chair has ever been ousted since the awards were first made in 1901, even with shifting political majorities. The committee is appointed in line with the strength of parties in Norway’s parliament.

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