What’s driving Brazil??

One of the enigmatic cases in the process is Brazil. A developing economy with hefty economic weight, but also a raucous democratic process and loud civil society. While China broke its long time silence on the process and demanded something open, Brazil’s government has been noisy on this for a decade.

A minor stir was created last week when Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega was reported by the English-language press as being fine with the next IMF head being a European. Of course that was a bit out of context, Mantega was taking a principled stand on the process being conducted without reference to nationality, European or otherwise.

The newspaper Valor Econômico reported on Monday that the Brazilian government is still abstaining from indicating one particular name to succeed DSK as the IMF chief. Mantega has argued that the next IMF boss should be from any nationality and said the nomination period (until June) is too short to allow for the definition of new criteria to select candidates. His position is that the nomination of a new IMF chief should only be provisional, so that the chosen candidate finishes DSK’s mandate until the end of 2012.

He stressed that Brazil is not officially supporting any potential candidates, including the Mexican Agustin Carstens. Mantega said that, after discussing the topic with President Dilma Roussef, they agreed that right now there no Brazilians with the necessary qualifications to run for the post. He added that it is not important to have a Brazilian candidate because nationality does not matter. What matters is that there is a candidate that gives more space to emerging countries at the IMF, according to Mantega.

In an open letter released last week, Mantega argued that the selection process for the IMF chief should be transparent and merit-based, with a candidate that represents a large number of member countries. Mantega also said last week that Brazil is pushing for emerging countries to have a greater participation in the selection process of the next IMF chief.

Who will Brazil ultimately support and will it lead or follow in a coalition of BRIC countries that tries to block Europe? And who would Brazil back? Civil society analysis seems to say that Trevor Manuel of South Africa would be no better than a European, and may actually be worse.

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