Weber: I did not have enough intl support for ECB post

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Bundesbank boss Axel Weber, who has dropped out of the running to head the European Central Bank, says he did so because he did not have enough international support, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

Weber, who told Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that he would also quit the German central bank on April 30 "for personal reasons," had been favourite to replace Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet at the ECB in October.

Weber was known for his hardline stance on ECB policy, especially his opposition to ECB purchases of eurozone government bonds, a measure the ECB adopted last year to help struggling banks get through the financial crisis.

Such bond purchases now total more than 76 billion euros ($102 billion).

"When one defends a minority position on basic questions, that harms the credibility of one's function," Weber told the Der Spiegel edition coming out on Monday.

"Taking such positions has not always helped my case with certain governments," he added.

France was notably known to be reluctant to see Weber replace Trichet at the head of the ECB, the guardian of the eurozone's single currency .

Weber said he told the German government late last year that he was studying other options besides the ECB, adding: "The important thing for me was to be able to decide freely what I was going to do."

German press reports have suggested he might take up a post at Deutsche Bank, the country's biggest lender, but Weber said he was planning to take time off until the end of the year after stepping down from the Bundesbank.

"During my remaining time at the Bundesbank, I will absolutely not talk about my professional future, with absolutely no one," he added.

Berlin has said Weber's successor will be announced in the coming weeks.

Weber's decision instead appears to leave the way clear for the man formerly seen as his main rival, Italy's Mario Draghi, with Luxembourg's Yves Mersch and Finland's Erkki Liikanen seen as possible other candidates.

© 2011 AFP

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