France says China backs Lagarde for IMF chief

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China favours France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as a candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, the spokesman for the French government, Francois Baroin, said on Tuesday.

"The Chinese are favorable to the candidacy of Christine Lagarde," Baroin, who is also France's budget minister, told Europe 1 radio.

Germany, Britain and other European powers have backed Lagarde to take over as managing director of the global lender after her countryman Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped down following his arrest on sexual assault charges.

"What is being drawn up is a European consensus," Baroin said.

"But you will easily understand, given the circumstances of the IMF director's resignation, and given that it is not a point of national pride, that it is not for France to take a position first."

Lagarde is widely tipped as the favourite but has not said whether she will run.

© 2011 AFP

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