Volodymyr Zelensky Should be Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize—Lawmakers

The expired deadline for accepting nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize should be extended so Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky can be considered for the award, a group of European politicians have said.

The Nobel Committee has been sent an appeal to re-open the nomination procedure and push the deadline of January 31 to March 31, so that Zelensky and the people of Ukraine can be considered for the award.

"Although we are aware that this is a break with procedure, we do believe it is justified by the current unprecedented situation," said the letter signed by 36 past and present politicians from the Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia.

"It is our democratic duty to stand up to authoritarianism and to support a people fighting for democracy and their right to self-government."

It said "brave Ukrainian men and women are fighting to preserve democracy and self-government" and that people all over the country invaded by Russia on February 24 "are rising up to resist the forces of authoritarianism."

"Our words of sympathy and support can hardly do justice to the sacrifices they make for the principles of human rights and peace," said the letter dated March 11, which finished with words, "the veneer of civilization is paper-thin, we are its guardians and we can never rest."

A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize can be made by any person who meets the nomination criteria.

These include members of national assemblies and national governments, members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague as well as certain university professors, professors emeriti and associate professors.

According to the Nobel Prize website, there are 343 candidates for the award this year, of which 251 are individuals and 92 are organizations.

The names of the nominators and the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize are not divulged by the committee until 50 years have elapsed, although those who do put forward a contender often go public with the news. The Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the laureates.

A Nobel Prize nomination would add to Zelensky's growing stature on the world stage as the figurehead fighting against Russian aggression.

Politicians in the European Parliament gave Zelensky a standing ovation when he addressed them via video link on March 1. He has received similar responses from such addresses to lawmakers in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada.

On Thursday, he spoke to the German parliament where he invoked the slogan "never again" in reference to the Holocaust, in describing the Russian bombardment of Ukraine's cities. He is scheduled to address Israeli lawmakers on Sunday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement to Newsweek that "generally speaking, it is not possible for the Committee to extend the 31 January deadline for making nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize."

"However, the members of the Committee do have the right to make their own nominations up until the first formal Committee meeting each year. This year, that meeting took place on 28 February."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022. The European Parliament has said it wants to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. SERGEI SUPINSKY/Getty Images

Update 03/22/22, 9:30 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with a response to Newsweek from the Norwegian Nobel Committee.