Lagarde praised, but secretive IMF process panned

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The choice of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to be the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund was widely applauded Tuesday, but critics assailed the secretive process that kept in place Europe's 65-year lock on the position.

"A victory for France... The French presidency is delighted that a woman is taking up this major international responsibility."

- office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy

"This travesty of an appointment process undermines the credibility of the IMF. Rumors had circulated about some openness, but before the candidates were interviewed, the decision had already been made."

- Luc Lampriere, director of Oxfam France

"Good news for the global economy and for Britain... She has demonstrated she has the experience, vision and the diplomatic skills necessary... She has also been a strong advocate for countries tackling high budget deficits and living within their means."

- British Finance Minister George Osborne

"Ms. Lagarde will lead the Fund with a clear sense of purpose, ensure that the Fund preserves the independence it needs to sustain its effectiveness, and promote a spirit of consensus that cuts across the Fund's membership.

- Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister

"The International Monetary Fund has made an excellent choice -- one based on expertise, experience and talent."

- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

"I am sure that Ms. Lagarde will be a very capable leader of the institution."

- Mexico's central bank chief Agustin Carstens, who vied with Lagarde for the IMF job.

"We regret the process was not the open and inclusive process we called for. ... Above all, the new managing director must accelerate the pathetically slow baby steps of governance reform at the IMF."

- New Rules for Global Finance, a Washington finance activist group.

© 2011 AFP

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