Berlin 'strongly backs' Lagarde for IMF
Berlin "strongly backs" the candidacy of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as head the International Monetary Fund, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday.
"The government of the Federal Republic strongly backs her candidacy," Seibert told a news conference after Lagarde formally announced she was running to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last week.
"Mrs Lagarde is a person with expert knowledge who, for years, has occupied top positions in private business, politics, and government," Seibert added.
"She is, and that is particularly important, very familiar with the public debt crisis in Europe in which the IMF has played an important role," he said, adding that she was therefore especially suited to immediately take up the challenge of the job.
Lagarde, a respected figure on the world financial stage, has received wide European backing for the post, although emerging powers have complained that the job should not automatically go to a European, as is IMF tradition.
Strauss-Kahn, who is also French, resigned to fight charges of sexual assault of a hotel employee in New York on May 14.
© 2011 AFP