Carstens is due in China today to drum up some support from the Asian economies. Though neither candidate has the official backing of the Chinese, there have been some statements in Lagarde’s favour, which the French have been happy to take as endorsements. Both sides should be cautious when jumping the gun – in Indonesia; the Finance Minister Angus Martowardojo is under fire for his “personal support” of Lagarde, which is not yet the official stance of the county.
In an interview with the Miami Herald Carstens put forward a case for unified BRICS support:
“If I win, it would be a strong statement of Latin America’s power … And even if we don’t win, a strong Latin American vote against the status quo would be a strong signal that we don’t agree with the way things are being done at the IMF. That’s why it is so important to have a region-wide Latin American vote.”
Kenneth Rogoff at the New York Times touches on the appointment of the deputy managing director post saying that “everyone takes for granted that the board will rubber-stamp whomever the Obama administration nominates.” There was speculation when Lagarde was in Brazil that the emerging markets were being softened up by the prospect of holding that position for the first time. Another potential bargaining chip is that Lagarde only serve for what would have been the remainder of Strauss-Kahn’s term, though she has declared her intentions to complete the full 5 year term.
It is unlikely that the US will be willing to release its grip on the deputy MD post that easily, also there are already reports that they have no intention to relinquish control of the World Bank presidency come next year’s elections. A spokesperson said earlier this week that “the U.S. must use its leadership position at the bank to fight to end corruption and make sure that all lending is conducted in a transparent and accountable process”. For the States, the first battle is with congress, though be certain that civil society will be using momentum from the IMF leadership debacle to demand reforms at the Bank.
It is still unknown when exactly the interviews will take place but the strongest hint comes fromI Lagarde declining an invitation to the Israeli Presidential Conference from June 21-23 as she has received a request to appear before the IMF board…