Donald Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by an an anonymous US politician, alongside Pope Francis and Edward Snowden, it has been reported.
The Republican, who was defeated in the Iowa caucus earlier this week, is believed to have been nominated by a party senator or congressman, just days before the February 1 deadline, in what some are calling the most unlikely nomination since that of Soviet strongman Josef Stalin in 1947.
Trump was nominated for "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China".
Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of Oslo’s Peace Research Institute, which publishes an annual prediction list, confirmed to The Telegraph that he had been sent a copy of the Trump nomination letter last week.
Harpviken said he had "committed" to not revealing the identity of the nominator, but said he held "a position which gives him the right to nominate".
Trump has seen support among Republican voters soar to 40% this year, but in doing so he announced plans to ban Muslims from entering the US, described Latino Americans as "rapists" and pledged to hit Islamic State with indiscriminate carpet bombing, telling Fox News: "You have to take out their families."
Harpviken told the newspaper that it was "entirely unlikely" Trump would win, a sentiment shared by the general public.
how has donald trump been nominated for a nobel peace prize i'm literally about to leave this fucking planet— amy from the block (@alltimeyoooo) February 3, 2016
That's a joke, right? Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize https://t.co/FAW90d32hn— Doctor PMS (@Doctor_PMS) February 3, 2016
Ultimate troll move: someone has nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel peace prize.— LogicalLibby (@LogicalLibby) February 3, 2016
Apparently Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. pic.twitter.com/KmI0vEdOLh— David Atkins (@DavidAtkins42) February 3, 2016
Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize so I'll be leaving for Mars now— nah (@_bostonmama) February 3, 2016
The Peace Research Institute's list of the eleven most likely winners is headed by US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Harpviken argued that surveillance oversight reforms in the US, and a vote in the European Parliament calling on member states to “drop any criminal charges” against Snowden made his chances of winning the award in 2016 even greater than in either 2014 or 2015, when he was also nominated.
“The argument, which I imagine is still that of President [Barack] Obama, that he is a traitor is increasingly unsustainable,” he said.
Second on the list is US energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, for their roles in the Iran nuclear deal.
The Peace institute noted: "The pair used their shared background from MIT to reach an agreement in spite of the differences and long-lasting grievances that exist between their respective countries. The pair even made it onto Foreign Policy’s 2015 Global Thinkers list, and have received much of the credit for the (so far) considerable success of the Iran Nuclear Deal."
Timoleón Jiménez, head of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas, and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, are third on the list for their part in peace talks to end the Columbian civil war.
"2015 saw considerable progress, with vital components of the peace treaty being thrashed out, and in 2016 it seems very likely that the final agreement be signed," the institute noted.
"For the involved parties to set aside decade-long grievances in a conflict where both sides have committed atrocities is a grand achievement. While there is still some way to go, a peace prize to the Colombian peace process would be a consolidating factor for the continued peaceful resolution of one of the most ingrained conflicts in the world, ending the last of the continent’s wars."
Harpviken told The Telegraph he suspected Trump's nomination might be a publicity stunt. While the nominator may "genuinely" believie the property mogul was worthy, Harpviken said, he may also "realise that the very fact that Trump’s nomination gets confirmed has considerable interest in its own right, and that all publicity is good publicity".
Previous nominees have included Adolf Hitler in 1939, Stalin, who was nominated in 1945 and 1948, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was nominated in 2014.
The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced in October.