Ahtisaari has been ranked by bookmakers and some experts as a likely winner of the 2006 prize to be announced on Friday in Oslo, particularly for his work brokering a year-old peace accord between Indonesia and Aceh separatists. However, Ahtisaari himself pointed out that while the Aceh peace negotiations were successful, they did not take more than a year while in total he has worked for around 30 years with peace-related issues.
In an interview with YLE TV on Wednesday, he put forward billionaire investor George Soros as his own choice of laureate. "He has promoted open democratic society in the world and used lots of his own money and energy for it, and he still does," said Ahtisaari, Finland's president in 1994-2000.
Soros, the Hungarian-born financier, has given away billions of dollars through his network of foundations and the Open Society Institute to promote democracy and human rights, especially in ex-communist eastern Europe.
Some experts say Ahtisaari could also be rewarded for his record of peace work, from overseeing Namibia's transition to independence for the United Nations in 1989-1990 and his work on the Northern Ireland decommissioning committee to his role in the Kosovo crisis in 1999 and his present work as the U.N. special envoy on the future status of Kosovo.