With Strauss-Kahn out, could a non-European snag IMF post?
Lobbying has intensified for Dominique Strauss-Kahn's old job. Emerging economies may vie for the IMF's top spot.
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But Europe seems to be determined to keep the post. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today in Berlin that the EU should nominate its own candidate, and do so quickly. She declined to give names, but announced that the EU would discuss the matter with urgency.Skip to next paragraph
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French Finance and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde is widely seen as Europe’s best choice, even though she is currently being investigated over allegations of abuse of office. Her competence is undisputed, and in 2009 the Financial Times ranked her best finance minister in the Eurozone.
“In order to overcome the debt crisis the European countries need the IMF and they need it to play the bad cop,” says Xavier Timbeau, director of analysis at the Center for Economic Research in Paris. “The IMF is the one that tells Greece and Portugal to tighten their belts. So the EU would rather they know the bad cop well, or even better, it’s one of their own. They want to be able to trust the IMF director.”
Dutch central banker and IMF governor Nout Wellink put forward another Frenchman. He told Dutch TV that Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, “would make a fantastic candidate.” Mr. Trichet, who steps down from his ECB post in October “knows Europe very well and is totally independent,” said Mr. Wellink. “Since the IMF at the moment deals with European problems mainly it would be good to have a European at the helm.”
Critics argue that if either Ms. Lagarde or Trichet became IMF managing director, it would be the fifth time already that France occupied the post.