Egypt backs Lagarde for IMF top job

12th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday announced Egypt's support for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde's bid to head the International Monetary Fund.

"The Egyptian government supports the candidacy of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde for the post of managing director of the IMF," Arabi told reporters after talks with Lagarde in Cairo.

The French minister said earlier that she was "confident" of her chances of heading the IMF, while declining to comment on her Israeli rival for the post.

"I am very confident, particularly after several meetings here in Egypt," Lagarde told reporters after talks with her Egyptian counterpart Samir Radwan. "We have had excellent meetings."

Egypt is on the 24-member executive board which is due to reach a consensus on naming a new IMF chief at the end of this month.

On Saturday, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer -- an American economist who took Israeli citizenship and previously held the number two post at the IMF -- announced that he was in the race.

Lagarde, who on Saturday was in Saudi Arabia where she also voiced confidence, declined to comment on Fischer's candidacy, saying only: "He has past experience as the number two at the IMF ... Everybody is free to file a candidacy."

The IMF's top post opened unexpectedly after Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned on May 18 to fight sexual assault charges in New York.

Despite a whirlwind world tour that has taken her from Brasilia to Beijing via New Delhi, Lagarde has failed to lock official backing from emerging powers in the race to become managing director of the world's crisis lender.

Her main rival before Fischer entered the race has been Mexico's central bank chief Agustin Carstens.

© 2011 AFP

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