Monday, September 03, 2007

Candidate for IMF lead position a shoe-in


- Frenchman favorite to head IMF - BBC
- Two nominees for top IMF job - IMF
- IMF Director announces plan to step down two years early - Washington Post

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is pegged to take over as the Managing Director of the IMF in October when the current director, Rodrigo De Rato, will step down. Strauss-Kohn, a former French finance minister who played a pivotal role in the introduction of the euro as a monetary unit, was nominated by the Executive Director for Germany, Mr. Klaus Stein, on behalf of the European Union. Strauss-Kohn also recently ran for president of France.

Russia nominated the only other candidate for the position—Josef Tosovsky—and did so at the last minute as a challenge to the tradition that has allowed Europe to choose the head of the IMF. Tosovsky is a former prime minister of the Czech Republic and is currently in a prominent position with the Bank for International Settlements.

Russia’s concern over this tradition is shared by many others, and it is the same tradition that has allowed the United States to choose the head of the World Bank, the IMF’s sister institution. The head of the African Union said that this tradition is “not reflecting the balance of powers in the world today.” In response, Euro finance ministers have agreed to open up nominations for the Managing Director to countries outside Europe—but not this round, rather during the next selection process. The current nominations came from within the EU, most likely because the United States already chose the new head of the World Bank.

The nominations were prematurely prompted by De Rato’s announcement earlier this summer that he intended to resign from his post in October after the IMF’s Annual Meetings, two years before the end of his term. De Rato said that he made the decision to resign for personal reasons, including his desire to tend to his children's education.

Question: Should the EU have allowed outside nominations during the current selection process? Or was it justified because of the U.S.’s actions in nominating the new head of the World Bank?

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