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Kazakh premier urges EBRD to back its candidate for IMF chief

Business Materials 20 May 2011 13:37
Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov called Friday on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support the candidacy of Grigory Marchenko, Kazakhstan's respected central bank president, to lead the IMF.
Kazakh premier urges EBRD to back its candidate for IMF chief

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov called Friday on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support the candidacy of Grigory Marchenko, Kazakhstan's respected central bank president, to lead the IMF, RIA Novosti reported.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped down as the head of the International Monetary Fund on Thursday following allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York. The 62-year-old Frenchman, who denies the charges, was indicted on Thursday and released on $1 million bail but placed under house arrest.

CIS heads of governments announced their support for Marchenko, chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan since January 2009, at a meeting in Minsk on Thursday.

"I urge you to also show your support," Massimov said on Friday at the annual meeting of the EBRD in Astana.

Kazakhstan has also raised the issue of support for Marchenko's candidacy with several developing countries, including the other BRIC countries - Brazil, India and China.

Since the founding of the IMF and World Bank after World War II, however, the head of the Fund has by tradition been a European, with an American running its sister organization, and despite the united front put forward by Russia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics, most experts dismiss Marchenko's chances of heading the IMF.

"Marchenko is one of the brightest representatives of the Kazakh cohort of reformers that brought about the successful leap forward in the country's economy, and one of the most powerful leaders of public financial institutions in the CIS," said the former first deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia, Sergei Alexashenko, who is now director of macroeconomic research at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

However, despite his strengths, Alexashenko admits there are gaps in Marchenko's resume.

"He is not so widely known for his views on the global financial system and the global economy, which is important for this position," he said, adding that although a future head of the IMF will come from a developing country, it is too soon.

"In the coming years, Europe will be the main venue for the IMF, and the head of the fund must have established a working relationship with Europe's political, economic and business elite," the former Russian central banker said.

The former head of Russia's Federal Financial Markets Service, Oleg Vyugin, agreed with Alexashenko's assessment.

Marshenko "is an effective leader, a good professional, he is fairly well known in the West," Vyugin said. But he added: "Most likely, for this time, the tradition will be respected."

The European Union has already announced it is holding discussions to agree on a candidate for the bloc to put forward, with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde seen as the leading contender, although European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet has also been mentioned, along with several candidates from Germany.

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