Spain’s run of luck – World cup winners, tennis champions, exonerated cucumbers – finally ran out this week. Along with 164 other members of the IMF it doesn’t get a vote in the upcoming leadership election. Alas – Spain’s finance minister explained to the press – we wanted to vote for Lagarde, but the pesky IMF rules mean we have to give our votes to our IMF board member, Mexico, who – the cads! – want to vote for their favoured son, Carstens.
As you might expect if you’ve been following this process, it gets more absurd. Kazakhstan is nominating its central bank governor, but may not get to vote for him, as its votes will be cast by Switzerland. In fact if you’re not one of the 24 countries that hold a seat at the board someone else will interview candidates and cast your votes for you. Oh and of course board seats aren’t allocated on any rational basis, but a mixture of economic power and historical hangover – which is why Europeans hold 8 seats, and developing countries only 10.
So, isn’t it time for the IMF to heed campaigners’ calls for open voting processes with all countries casting their vote separately? And the winner required to get a majority of country votes as well as a majority of IMF voting shares (which Europe and the US collectively have cornered a majority of). Come on, give poor old Spain a chance to vote for the person whose decisions may dominate their economic policy for years to come.