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Photograph: EPA/FREDRIK SANDBERG SWEDEN OUT

An all-time record of 376 individuals and organizations have been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Tuesday.

The previous record of 278 nominations was set in 2014.

"It is heartening to see that so many have exercised their right to nominate," Olav Njolstad, non-voting secretary of the five-member committee, told news agency NTB.

The Nobel Committee advises those making nominations not to reveal their proposals, but there are no formal rules against doing so.

Names that have featured in this year's speculation include:

- US whistleblower Edward Snowden

- Greek islanders who have helped migrants fleeing to Europe

- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) head Timoleon Jimenez, who are seeking to end a half-century-long conflict in the South American nation

- Congolese physician Denis Mukwege was put forward by Norwegian lawmaker Audun Lysbakken, head of the opposition Socialist Left Party. Mukwege runs a hospital that has treated thousands of victims of mass rape committed by warring groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parliamentarians, academics, former peace laureates, as well as current and former members of the Nobel Committee are among those who have the right to make nominations.

The peace prize is one of several endowed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel. The winner is usually announced in October.

Last year's winner was the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia, an alliance of trade unions, employers organizations, human rights groups and lawyers.

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