Russia to vote for Lagarde as IMF chief: Kudrin

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Russia said Tuesday it would vote for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as the next head of the International Monetary Fund after dropping its support for an emerging market candidate.

"I think that she has all the necessary qualities and when the (IMF) board of directors votes, we will support her candidacy," Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying ahead of the decision expected later in the day.

He told a government meeting that Lagarde's financial vision "completely meets the goals and objectives of the International Monetary Fund.

"She will be able to make this key international organisation more dynamic and assure its future reform," Kudrin said.

Russia surprised some observers when it initially backed the internationally little-known central bank chief of Kazakhstan to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned May 18 to fight sexual assault charges.

Kazakhstan's Grigory Marchenko decided to drop his candidacy on June 10 after calling Lagarde's victory "more or less obvious."

But the respected French finance chief has had trouble winning the backing of the BRICS emerging market nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The fund's leadership has been held by a European since its founding in 1945 and Brazil in particular has been receptive to a challenge from the Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens.

But China said it would back Lagarde on Monday and Kudrin said he viewed her as a known quantity.

Kudrin in particular noted Lagarde's willingness to support a "quota system that took into account the interests of developing markets.

"We have discussed this on many occasions with her before," the minister said.

© 2011 AFP

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