French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is most likely to head International Monetary Fund (IMF), with backing of the United States and Japan, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Sunday, citing unidentified global financial industry sources in Washington, reported Reuters.

The United States, which has the largest share of votes in the IMF, the main institution overseeing global financial stability, and second biggest voter Japan are expected to officially endorse Lagarde as early as June 10 when the nomination process closes, Japan's Nikkei reported. 

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the new IMF chief selection process should be transparent and a merit-based process. Japanese officials were not available for comment.

Emerging economies argue that their increasing influence in the global economy, with China and India the world's fastest-growing nations, should give them a stab at the IMF top post, which has traditionally gone to a European. India had urged earlier for the IMF chief post to be awarded to a candidate from one of the BRICS countries.

Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens has also been nominated to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned on May 18, but he lacks broad support. 

The deadline to pick a successor to Strauss-Kahn is June 30. The IMF board has said it hoped member countries would agree through consensus on a candidate although it could go to a vote. 

The United States and Europe hold 48 percent of the votes in the IMF, whereas, Japan has more than 6 percent. Assuming all European members unite behind Lagarde, she would have more than 51 percent of the votes and get the post, Nikkei said according to the report. 

The top IMF job fell vacant after Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged last month with the attempted rape of a maid in a New York hotel. He has denied the charges.