More nods in Lagarde’s direction – the persistance of Brown? – and the need for an apolitical leader

John Lipsky, interim MD of the Fund, is selectively quoted by the BBC as offering Christine Lagarde as “an excellent choice” for the job. They fished true, but he did his best to dodge the bait. It’s not that he didn’t say that but as one would expect, he chose his words carefully – “I have the very highest regard for Ms Lagarde and I’m sure like many other candidates she would be an excellent choice”.

There line being spun is that the right choice of IMF head is crucial for the future of Europe. Here our some thoughts on why the voice of other regions, namely Africa, should not be drowned out.

He also gave some insight into the process, stating that the executive board would meet this week to establish and agree on the process and mechanism – if he wants reminding of how this might look he’d do well to look here (skip to point 5).

The Guardian has a useful piece on the rubric and also on how much weight the vote of each nation holds. Note that as the winner must gain 85% of the vote the US has an effective veto, the vote of European nations if united, make up over a quarter…Did someone say “double-majority?”

Word is that Gordon Brown is indeed to declare his intentions to run for the top-post. Cue the reprise of guffaws and grumbles. But it’s not all bad for Brown.

Writing in the Financial Times, former IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan makes the argument that more important than nationality should be an emphasis on the next IMF head not being an active politician. Moreover he argues that it should not become a stepping stone towards a political career as such aspirations are sure to impact the judgement and direction of this ostensibly non-political institution. Raghuram suggests 5 southern candidates: Trevor Manuel, Montek Ahluwalia, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Brazil’s Arminio Fraga. In term of process Raghurman suggests a selection committee hosted by the IMFC.

Hamish McRae echoes this sentiment, seeing an opportunity to have a “well-run, authoritative, apolitical IMF”.

It is likely that if the European Community is to put forward a candidate, their preferred choice will emerge by the end of the G8 summit in Deauville next week.

We’ll be waiting…

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