Strauss-Kahn seeks to build consensus at IMF
27 September 2007, WASHINGTON (AFP) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has built his reputation as a business-friendly socialist, is pledging to be a "consensus builder" at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if he becomes its new leader.
27 September 2007
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has built his reputation as a business-friendly socialist, is pledging to be a "consensus builder" at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if he becomes its new leader.
He says the 185-country institution, based in Washington, faces challenges in restoring its relevance and credibility around the world.
"It will be a hard task for all of us to rebuild both the relevance and the legitimacy of this organization. But I am prepared to do that and I ask you to be prepared as well," Strauss-Kahn told the IMF executive board in a job interview last week.
If selected, he said he would work to "ensure that the (managing director) is a consensus builder."
"I believe in multilateralism and I think that to help the world to benefit from globalization we need a more influential IMF not a less influential one," he stated.
Fluent in English and German, Strauss-Kahn won respect in European circles during his tenure as finance minister from 1997 to 1999.
During that time, he took part in negotiations on the creation of the single European currency, the euro, and generated a wave of privatizations, including that of France Telecom, overcoming resistance within his Socialist Party.
Strauss-Kahn is competing for the post against former Czech prime minister and central bank chief Josef Tosovsky, who was nominated by Russia.
The United States last week threw its weight behind the Frenchman, effectively assuring his victory.
However, his candidacy has stirred some controversy in Europe.
The Financial Times newspaper said that only those who wanted the Fund "to be irrelevant" could applaud the EU's decision to "foist" Strauss-Kahn on the institution.
"This is the wrong candidate, chosen in the wrong way," the influential British business daily said in an editorial.
"Emerging countries no longer understand why Europeans should determine who might dictate to them in any crisis, as if their old empires still existed."
European countries traditionally select the head of the IMF and the United States the president of the World Bank, but that agreement has come under increased criticism.
Born on April 25, 1949, to a Jewish family in the affluent Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Strauss-Kahn spent part of his childhood in Morocco and later studied at the elite Paris Institute of Political Studies (SciencesPo) and the Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) schools.
He entered politics in 1986, winning a parliament seat to represent the alpine Haute-Savoie region and was later re-elected in the Paris region of Val d'Oise in 1988.
Named finance minister in 1997, Strauss-Kahn was forced to step down two years later because of allegations that he had received payment from a student health insurance fund for legal work he did not perform.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing in 2001.
In June, Strauss-Kahn was again elected to parliament to represent Sarcelles, a poor suburb north of Paris.
During the French presidential campaign, Strauss-Kahn attacked the successful conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he presented a "danger" for France.But the new president pushed Strauss-Kahn as "the most capable candidate" for the IMF post and won EU backing.Strauss-Kahn is married to Anne Sinclair, one of France's most popular television journalists.
Subject: French news