Italy backs 'excellent' Draghi for ECB post
Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti on Friday said he fully supported an "excellent" bid by central bank governor Mario Draghi to become the next European Central Bank chief.
"We believe it's an excellent candidacy and it will be supported by the Italian government," he told reporters, speaking on the day that Bundesbank boss Axel Weber effectively pulled out of the ECB race.
Tremonti said Draghi was "highly qualified" for the job, dispelling widespread reports of tense relations between the two.
"For us it's not about nationality. It's not whether it's someone from Germany or Italy. The criterion is professional capacity," Tremonti said.
Earlier on Friday, Weber told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he would quit the German central bank on April 30 "for personal reasons".
The mandate of current ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet runs out in October.
Draghi is seen as a leading candidate for the post but his past career with Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs is seen as a potential hindrance.
© 2011 AFP