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European IMF control challenged
Can create ‘conflicts of interest,’ says Mexican banker candidate for top job
Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens said Monday that the next leader of the International Monetary Fund should not be European because those nations are borrowing heavily from the lending organization.
“We could have a situation where the borrowers dominate the institution,” he told an audience of more than 100 policymakers and economists. He also met with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner earlier in the day, but said Mr. Geithner did not endorse his candidacy.
A European has traditionally headed the IMF and an American has led its sister organization, the World Bank. Developing countries have long complained about the arrangement, which dates to the end of World War II.
The IMF, which lends money to countries in financial difficulty, is seeking a new managing director to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He resigned last month after his arrest on sexual assault charges. Mr. Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty. The Fund’s 24-member executive board plans to make its selection by June 30.
Mrs. Lagarde consolidated her lead over the weekend by receiving endorsements from Indonesia and Egypt, a sign that her support extends beyond Europe.
Mr. Carstens acknowledged the steep challenge he faces. But he said it was important for developing countries to have a choice in the election. And while he may not succeed, he said he hoped his candidacy would pave the way for emerging market candidates in the future.
“If we want to have an open and unbiased process, we need to present candidates,” he said. “If we don’t start at some point we will never get there.”
In fact, some speculate that Mr. Carstens could be laying the groundwork for a future run at the job, or another top position.
“A credible run … would certainly raise his profile in global policy circles and improve his chances of heading other major international institutions,” Mr. Prasad said.
China, India and Brazil, three of the fastest-growing nations in the world, have also complained that the IMF process for choosing its leader should be more open. Still, none of those countries is backing Mr. Carstens.
By Tom Fitton
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White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow