Russia’s backing of Grigory Marchenko, governor of the Kazakh central bank has added spice – and a side order of mischief – to the IMF leadership race. Marchenko disarmingly gave the game away by saying “this is all so unexpected” and admitting success was only “theoretically possible”. So that makes two no-hope candidates in a row – or am I underestimating theRussian bear?
Russia’s real prize is a united front with emerging markets around a single candidate – probably the only way another ludicrous European stitch-up can be prevented. Presumably it hopes to gain first mover advantage with other BRIC countries slow to muster their own champion, and dealt a blow by the withdrawal of initial bookies’ favourite Kemal Dervis.
Offical nominations open on Monday. I’m strapping myself in for more twists and turns, not least the ongoing full scale judicial inquiry into European frontrunner Christine Lagarde.
IMF critics must be licking their lips – sex scandals, backroom carve ups between yesterday’s powers, corruption allegations, a hastily announced process with little time for scrutiny, the exclusion of most of the best candidates because they hold the wrong passports – what better way to discredit the institution?