After Dominique Strauss-Kahn's resignation from the IMF, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has emerged as the leading candidate for IMF chief, receiving support from European nations. On the other hand, emerging economic powers are calling for an IMF chief from among an emerging economy.
Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble described Lagarde as excellently qualified in skills terms and as a person. She is very much respected and esteemed in the entire financial world. If she decides to run, Europe would have top chances of gaining the post again, Schaeuble said. What is decisive above everything else is that Europe speaks with one voice on the issue.
If Lagarde is formally chosen as a candidate for IMF chief, the Irish government will give its backing. On May 24, Ireland's Europe Minister Lucinda Creighton told the Irish state broadcaster, We would like to see an EU head and on that basis if Christine Lagarde is a candidate it's quite likely we would offer her our support. Now that quite a few European leaders backed Lgarde, it's quite possible that the U.S. will row in behind her as well, Creighton said.
According to Creighton, Christine Lagarde has been a friend, some would argue the friendliest voice that we have in the French government at this point in time. She is considered to be someone who is on Ireland's side.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also backed Lagarde to head the IMF. On Monday, Key noted Lagarde as the widely considered front-runner, who had the credentials for the position. She's super impressive, I've got to say, Key said.
The French government said it believes China would support Lagarde, while China's foreign ministry gave no comment on whether Beijing would back Lagarde or not. Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China's central bank, said the new IMF boss should be from an emerging economy.
India has not put forward a candidate for the IMF director's position.
Indian government officials said that emerging nations are jointly backing a candidate to head the IMF, even if their proposal is eventually rejected. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday that he was in touch with his counterparts on the issue of selecting the next IMF chief.
We shall have to keep in mind that it is a financial institution. Shareholding and voting power are relevant factors, Pranab Mukherjee said. He added, normally, we decide through the process of consensus building.
On Monday, Mexico sought support for its Central Bank Governor, Agustin Carstens, but has failed to gain Brazil's support.
Russia has said it would back Kazakhstan's central bank chief, Grigory Marchenko, and sources have said South African politician Trevor Manuel could emerge as a candidate.
IMF has always been led by Europeans while the World Bank by Americans. Under a longstanding deal between Europe and the United States, a European has always held the top IMF job while an American led the World Bank. IMF is currently run by its No. 2 official, John Lipsky.
The deadline to pick a permanent head is set for June 30.