Mexico says both IMF candidates credible

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Both French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens are credible candidates to become the become the next head of the IMF, Mexico's finance minister said Wednesday.

"I believe that both candidates are credible" Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero told reporters.

"Mrs Lagarde also concedes that the IMF needs on open process that is merit-based and we both agree that both candidates have very strong credentials," he added.

On Monday, Mexico put forward Carstens for the post of International Monetary Fund managing director while Lagarde formally threw her hat in the ring on Wednesday.

The IMF needs to find a successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last week after being arrested in New York on sexual assault charges, which he denies.

Carstens has lengthy experience at the IMF, including as deputy managing director, the body's third-ranked official, from 2003 to 2006.

The IMF post is traditionally held by a European but emerging economies complain that it should be opened up to their candidates.

Lagarde has been endorsed by key European figures, who believe the deep problems of the European Union, with Greece, Portugal and Ireland in financial crisis, require an IMF chief current on the region's issues.

"What I am mentioning in all my meetings is that it is very important to have an open process that is merit-based," said Cordero, who was in Paris for the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

"We recognise that Mrs Lagarde has also very good credentials but we believe that Agustin could contribute to the leadership of the institution," he said.

"It is too early to say" who will win the post, Cordero added.

© 2011 AFP

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