Ireland would support Lagarde as IMF chief
PARIS — Ireland, whose economy has been among the worst hit by the global financial crisis, yesterday threw its support behind Finance Minister Christine Lagarde of France to become the next director of the International Monetary Fund.
The move was unexpected, given French-Irish tensions over the terms of Ireland’s EU-IMF bailout.
Ireland’s support adds to the growing European momentum for Lagarde to succeed her countryman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit last week after he was accused of attempting to rape a maid in a New York City hotel.
Lagarde called a press conference for tomorrow morning in Paris, amid increasing speculation that she will formally announce her candidacy.
However, the representatives of major developing nations on the IMF’s board issued a joint statement yesterday urging the lending agency to abandon the practice of always choosing a European to head the IMF.
The decision on the next IMF leader will be made by the agency’s 24-member executive board, whose officials represent the 187 IMF member countries.
The executive directors representing Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa said in a joint statement that they wanted to see the election of the next IMF chief be “truly transparent’’ and merit-based.
“This requires abandoning the obsolete unwritten practice of convention that requires that the head of the IMF be necessarily from Europe,’’ the five executive directors from developing nations said.
“We feel it is outrageous to have the post reserved for a European,’’ said Nogueira Batista, IMF executive director from Brazil and one of the signers of the joint statement. “We want it to be a truly open process.’’
The IMF board has said it wants to make a decision by the end of June.