EU to consult on two possible candidates for IMF head
PUNCHESTOWN RACECOURSE, Ireland: European Union finance ministers put off Saturday a decision on a choice to head the IMF, but said they were sounding out support for two candidates, Rodrigo Rato of Spain and Frenchman Jean Lemierre.
“We have two candidates for the moment,” Belgian finance minister Didier Reynders told reporters.
He said his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, would “consult with other members of the IMF on them, and we will try to come to a common position by April 18 or 19,” the next scheduled meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Mr Rato, Spain’s departing finance minister, was long the leading candidate to succeed German Horst Koehler as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
But Mr Rato’s chances were dented by the unexpected defeat of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party in last month’s general election and Lemierre, who heads the EBRD, has emerged as the frontrunner with backing of France and Germany.
“Today is a not really a decision,” Mr Reynders said.
Mr Koehler announced his resignation on March 4 to run for president of Germany, for which he is widely seen as a shoe-in in a May vote by a special assembly of lawmakers.
The top IMF post traditionally goes to a European, but sources in Tokyo said that if Europe fails to come up with a single strong candidate, Japan — the Fund’s second-biggest shareholder — might field a candidate of its own. —AFP