Lagarde Broadening Support to Head IMF (6/9)     Print

Christine Lagarde, France’s minister of finance, seems set to emerge as the leading candidate for the post of Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, succeeding Dominique Strauss-Kahn, himself a former French Finance Minister. Formal nominations for the post are due on Friday, June 10.

Following Strauss-Kahn’s downfall, some major developing nations saw the succession as the right time to break with the tradition of naming a European to the top job at the IMF. Europeans argued that the time may come for such a change, but not now when the eurozone is in the throes of a debt crisis and needs IMF help to surmount its problems. The EU and the U.S., which hold a near-majority of votes at the IMF, have signaled their support for Ms. Lagarde.

Agustin Cartens, Mexico’s central Bank governor and the underdog candidate in the race, has opposed the arguments, contending that European governments have failed in their handling of the eurozone crisis. His public blast – accusing European countries of having made up their minds in advance in favor of Lagarde – came in the Financial Times on the eve of his visit to India to court that government. Lagarde was there the day before, departing without any public guarantee of support from Dehli. The Indian government has said it is working to bring about a “consensus” outcome.

Ms. Lagarde's candidacy seems to have gained a decisive lead in the final stages as she succeeded in convincing leaders in several emerging economies that she could actually do more than one of their own in promoting their interests in the evolving global financial order. These developments in the IMF race are well narrated in this piece from the International Herald Tribune.

Part of her momentum stems from the fact that the emerging economies seem to have been unable to unite behind a single contender of their own to challenge the highly regarded Ms. Lagarde. She has run an energetic global campaign, tweeting almost daily about her meetings with senior decision-makers in countries from Latin America to China.


--- European Affairs