21 May 2011

IMF replacement process to begin next week

1:59 pm on 21 May 2011

The International Monetary Fund will start accepting nominations to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director from Monday.

The agency hopes the selection will be made by the end of next month.

IMF dean Shakour Shaalan, who represents Egypt and various countries from the Middle East, says candidates will be short-listed and the successful one selected by consensus.

Earlier, IMF acting managing director John Lipsky said French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde would be ''an excellent choice'' to head the organisation.

Mr Lipsky has been temporarily in charge of the International Monetary Fund since Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on 14 May on suspicion of rape.

Chairman of the law firm Baker McKenzie in Chicago before joining the French government in 2005, Ms Lagarde is a fluent speaker of English and Spanish. She would be the first woman to head the IMF.

She is tipped as the current favourite, a situation that Mr Lipsky appeared to acknowledge in an interview with the BBC's economics editor.

''I have the very highest regard for Ms Lagarde and I'm sure like many other candidates she would be an excellent choice,'' he said.

Ms Lagarde has also been praised by both Italy and Sweden.

Mr Lipsky is due to step down from the IMF at the end of August.

Other contenders

The BBC reports Singapore's finance minister also appears to be gaining support. Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been backed as a possible choice by the Philippine finance minister and his Thai counterpart.

Developing nations are keen that the next IMF chief should come from outside of Europe.

Other potential candidates from developing countries could include South Africa's Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Turkey's former minister of economic affairs, Kemal Dervis.

Leaders of the Group of Eight leaders - representing the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Britain and Italy, plus the European Union - are meet in Deauville, France, on 26-27 May.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has already said that the post should go to a European.

The BBC reports that Europe and the United States control almost 50% of the votes. The US has not yet indicated who it might favour.

As a block, Europe contributes 30% of the IMF's funding. The United States and Asia each contribute 16%.

Request by Mexico

Mexico has sent a letter to the Group of 20 urging that the next IMF head be selected on merit.

Mexico is reportedly considering nominating its central bank chief Agustin Carstens for the IMF post. Mr Carstens is a former IMF official.

However, a European has filled the post since the agency's formation in 1944 and European officials are eager for the next leader to be one of their own.