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Mexican central bank chief admits long odds in IMF candidacy

Other News Materials 14 June 2011 02:57 (UTC +04:00)
Mexico's central bank governor Augustin Carstens acknowledged Friday that he faces an uphill battle as a candidate to become chief of the International Monetary Fund
Mexican central bank chief admits long odds in IMF candidacy

Mexico's central bank governor Augustin Carstens acknowledged Friday that he faces an uphill battle as a candidate to become chief of the International Monetary Fund, dpa reported.

With European governments lined up in support of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, the odds are "quite high" in her favour, Carstens said Monday while taking questions following a speech at a think-tank in Washington. The European bloc alone holds about one third of the weighted vote in the IMF's executive board.

Lagarde, 55, has also received public support from countries in Africa and the Middle East.

"It's like starting a soccer game with the score 5-0," Carstens said.

The post has been held by Europeans since the IMF was founded after World War II, while US nominees have headed the World Bank, the IMF's sister development agency. Pressure has been growing from emerging markets for governance of the two institutions to be opened up, including the top jobs.

Carstens, 53, is seen as the candidate of the emerging economies.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who served as IMF deputy chief from 1994-2001, is the only other known candidate for the post. The 67-year-old would need the IMF board to waive a requirement for the managing director to be no older than 65 when taking office.

Fischer may be positioned as a compromise choice in case of a deadlock between supporters of Lagarde and Carstens.

Another potential candidate, Kazakhstan's central bank chief Grigory Marchenko, dropped out ahead of Friday's deadline for nominations, saying it was "more or less obvious" Lagarde would be elected.

The international lender, which provides financial assistance and advice to governments during economic and budget crises, launched a search process after last month's departure of managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He resigned within days of his May 14 arrest in an alleged sexual assault against a hotel maid in New York.

The IMF board is expected to interview the candidates for managing director in the coming days.

Working with the European Union, the IMF has provided massive loans in the recent bailouts of eurozone highly indebted governments in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

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