Yesterday the Fund put out a press release declaring that the shortlisted candidates would be Agustín Carstens and Christine Lagarde. Stanley Fischer, who nominated himself at the 11th hour, was blocked by the Fund because of his age. A spokesperson said: “There was insufficient support in the executive board to recommend that the board of governors amend the by-laws”. Fischer, commenting on disqualification said “I think that the age restriction, which was set in the past at 65, is not relevant today”. Hmm, I wonder how many countries have been required to raise their retirement age as a condition of IMF support?
While Lagarde keeps tallying up the votes, adding Qatar to her list, Carstens isn’t pulling any punches. On the weekend he argued that the job would be best done by an economist and that in this regard he has a “far deeper understanding” than Lagarde. Yesterday, in this video from the Peterson Institute in Washington he mocked the presumption that the European crisis necessitates a European head of the Fund. He also highlighted a possible conflict of interest seeing as Europe, likely a main borrower from the Fund in coming years, will dominate their lender.
Pointing a finger at Europe for not playing fair by supporting Lagarde even before she announced her candidacy he said: “I’m not fooling myself, it’s like starting a soccer game with a 5-0 score”.
Oh dear, what would FIFA say?