Hillary Clinton is reportedly planning to leave the U.S. State Department next year, with an eye on becoming the next World Bank president.
Clinton is in talks with the White House about stepping down as U.S. secretary of state in 2012 to run as World Bank president if Robert Zoellick, the current head of the bank, leaves when his term ends next year, according to Reuters, citing sources it says are familiar with the negotiations.
But an aide of Clinton has denied the Reuters report, saying it was “100 percent untrue,” according to The Washington Post.
“Secretary Clinton has not had any conversations with the president, the White House or anyone about moving to the World Bank. She has expressed absolutely no interest in the job. She would not take it if offered,” Philippe Reines said in an official statement, as quoted in a Washington Post blog.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has also denied there were such discussions, though some insiders told Reuters that the denials reaffirmed the reports on those talks.
“Hillary Clinton wants the [World Bank] job,” Reuters quotes one of its sources, adding that another source said U.S. President Barack Obama had voiced his support for a change in Clinton’s role, but it is not yet clear whether the president had already agreed to formally nominate her.
If nominated, Clinton would need approval from the World Bank’s 187 member countries before she gets the job.
Nominees for the next World Bank president are normally not announced or discussed as early as a year before the position becomes vacant. But Reuters says the timing of the reported discussions between Clinton and the White House is not unusual given the ongoing race for the leadership of the International Monetary Fund, following Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s resignation in May.
The nomination round for the IMF top post ends Friday (June 10). France’s Christine Lagarde is widely recognized as the front-runner in the race despite emerging countries’ initial opposition to having another European at the head of the fund.
>> Christine Lagarde Begins Earning Emerging Nations’ Support For IMF Bid
Clinton herself has noted that “unofficially,” the United States supports having women at the top of key international institutions. If Lagarde wins, she will be first female managing director since IMF was created in 1946. And if the reported discussions are true and she is nominated and approved, Clinton would also be the first female World Bank president.
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