Frenchman leads race for IMF post

3rd September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 2, 2007 (AFP) - France's Dominique Strauss-Kahn is clear favourite in the two-horse race to become the next leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the deadline for nominations passed this weekend.

PARIS, Sept 2, 2007 (AFP) - France's Dominique Strauss-Kahn is clear favourite in the two-horse race to become the next leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the deadline for nominations passed this weekend.

The 58-year-old former French economy minister, nominated last July and backed by the EU and the United States, appears to have too much momentum for Josef Tosovsky, his sole challenger whose nomination was announced only last week.

The search for a new IMF chief began with the sudden resignation in June of Rodrigo Rato, the former Spanish finance minister.

The candidates to succeed him will be subjected to an interview process by the IMF board from the beginning of September, but the selection process itself could last several weeks beyond that.

"The probability that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be chosen is very great, firstly because of his competence and then by the support he has received from a number of important countries," says Philippe Hugon of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS).

"Unless there's a turnaround in the American position, Strauss-Kahn has a crushing majority," agreed Michel Aglietta of the CEPII, France's leading institute for research on the international economy.

Strauss-Kahn won much support, particularly from African countries, during the course of a world tour, but he has not been a universal choice.

Russia abruptly challenged the EU nomination last week, proposing Tosovsky, a 56-year-old former Czech prime minister and central bank chief.

China and India, lobbied by the Frenchman's supporters, have held back from granting Strauss-Kahn their support.

The Parisian has also come up against the veiled hostility of Britain, in the form of a scathing editorial in the Financial Times, who said he was "neither qualified nor legitimate".

According to Hugon, London is less than ecstatic at the prospect of another Frenchman in the driving seat of a major international institution, after suffering Pascal Lamy at the World Trade Organisation and Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank.

Whoever their favourite, developing and emerging economies have firmly expressed a wish for change in the IMF, beginning with the selection of its director general.

They have also unanimously condemend the unwritten rule according to which Europe and the US carve up two of the globe's most influential international jobs, with Brussels choosing the IMF chief and Washington given a free run to name the head of the World Bank.

"There are wide ranging reforms needed in these institutions, and, for sure, there is a need to definitively end this rule which decides that such and such a post is reserved for such and such a country or region, because that is not a fair reflection of the forces in the world today," said Alpha Omar Konare, head of the Commission of the African Union.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Eurogroup, the informal meeting of the Euro area finance ministers, said recently that the clamour from African and other developing countries meant that Europe's cosy days in charge of the institution were numbered.

"Within the Eurogroup and among the EU's finance ministers, everybody agrees that Strauss-Kahn will probably be the last European to lead the IMF in the foreseeable future," said Juncker, who is also the Luxembourg prime minister.

AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article