IMF Leadership Race Officially Down to Two: Christine Lagarde, Agustin Carstens

    Agustin Carstens, governor or the Bank of Mexico and Christine Lagarde, finance minister of France. Photo by: Sebastian Derungs and Giorgio Montersino / CC BY-SA

    The International Monetary Fund announced on Monday (June 13) that it will consider two candidates for the position of the fund’s next managing director: France’s Christine Lagarde and Mexico’s Agustin Carstens.

    Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, was not among the short-listed candidates despite announcing on Saturday (June 11) that he had formally entered the race. IMF did not explain why it is not considering Fischer, but news agencies note that the 67-year-old banker is past the maximum age of 65 that the fund set as a bylaw for electing a new managing director.

    Lagarde is still the widely recognized front-runner to succeed fellow French, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in May to deal with sexual charges brought against him in the United States. Carstens, himself, has recognized that Largarde has high chances of being elected.

    “The chances of Christine Lagarde getting elected are quite high. I’m sure that she will make a good managing director,” the Mexican central banker said June 13 at the U.S.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, as quoted by Agence France-Presse.

    Kazakhstan’s Grigory Marchenko, who initially set eyes on the IMF top post before withdrawing on Friday (June 10), also recognized that it was “more or less obvious” that Lagarde will get the job. Marchenko noted that attempts to support a single candidate to go against Lagarde have failed and that it was “better to withdraw and not to put some of the countries into embarrassing positions,” CNN reports.

    Emerging countries and the African Union have notably argued against appointing another European to lead IMF, which has been the tradition since the fund was created in 1946. The countries, particularly Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, however have failed to agree on a single candidate to support and have reportedly pledged to back Lagarde.>> Christine Lagarde Begins Earning Emerging Nations’ Support For IMF Bid

    >> BRICS: European Dominance of IMF Top Post ‘Obsolete’

    >> African Countries Want Next IMF Managing Director to be From Africa

    Indonesia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have also voiced support for Lagarde’s bid, according to Reuters and Bloomberg.

    According to a timeline it published in May, IMF hopes to name a new managing director by June 30. John Lipsky, the fund’s No. 2 official, is currently serving as acting managing director.

    >> IMF Hopes to Name New Managing Director by June 30

    Lipsky’s position as first deputy managing director is also expected to be vacant soon, as the U.S. citizen plans to leave IMF when his term ends in August. The Obama administration is looking to nominate David Lipton, a White House official who has also worked with IMF, to replace Lipsky, The Wall Street Journal says.

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    About the author

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      Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.