Lagarde almost certain to be EU candidate for IMF: source

20th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

France's Christine Lagarde is "practically a shoo-in" as the EU's candidate to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF chief, with an EU announcement expected at next week's G8 summit, an EU source said.

"Lagarde is practically a shoo-in, we should get such a signal at Deauville," in France, said the source, referring to the summit on Thursday and Friday of the world's eight top industrialised powers.

"Europe owes it to itself to act quickly," the source said.

"The EU does not have another candidate, there is no fallback," the source added, in reference to a judicial probe in France looking into whether Lagarde abused ministerial powers when intervening in a banking scandal involving controversial tycoon Bernard Tapie.

The EU source spoke after the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Mexican secretary general Angel Gurria said the time had come to choose a non-European to head the International Monetary Fund, a post Europe has claimed since the IMF was set up.

"I am totally in agreement that it is the time to change the tradition," Gurria said. "I think that this time it is possible but it must be done quickly.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Friday raised the possibility of presenting Leszek Balcerowicz, the pioneer of Poland's transition from communism to the free market, as a rival candidate for European leaders to consider.

Tusk said he had "spoken over the telephone about the situation at the IMF" with Balcerowicz.

© 2011 AFP

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