Brazil welcomes open IMF leadership race: report

 @ibtimes on August 24 2007 9:06 AM

Brazil wants to see an open race to head the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Guido Mantega was quoted on Friday by Russia's RIA-Novosti news agency as saying.

Mantega welcomed Russia's nomination of Josef Tosovsky, a former Czech premier and central bank chief, as an alternative to French former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been proposed by the European Union.

I don't think it is right when only one candidate from the EU is proposed for the job, RIA quoted Mantega as telling reporters. If it (the IMF) wants to represent the whole world, there should be other candidates.

Mantega said Brazil had not yet decided whom it would back. We will listen to all proposals, RIA quoted him as saying in its dispatch, datelined Rio de Janeiro.

Russia nominated Tosovsky this week, citing support from nations such as China, India and Brazil for a more open leadership race that gives fast-growing emerging markets greater sway at the global lender.

Russia takes a dim view of a duopoly under which Europe selects the IMF chief and the United States picks the head of its sister institution, the World Bank.

Spin doctors backing the bid say that there are simply too many Frenchmen running international bodies -- including the European Central Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

They also point out that Frenchmen have run the IMF for over half of its six decades in existence and that it is time for a candidate from somewhere else to get a shot at the job.

But, when it comes down to a vote at the IMF's board, the EU and the United States have enough votes to push through their preferred candidate. The Czech Republic, an EU member since 2004, has disowned Tosovsky's candidacy and backed Strauss-Kahn.

The IMF job fell vacant in July after the sudden resignation of Rodrigo Rato, who was in the midst of reforming the 63-year-old fund to boost its monitoring of the world economy and give greater voting clout to emerging nations.

The selection process is due to be completed by August 31, after which the IMF board will decide who gets to head up the Washington-based institution.

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