Consensus 101

Many of us thought that the leadership would be decided by vote. What with a number of countries, and crucially countries holding board seats, coming out in support of Cartens. But according to the official press release, the decision was made by consensus. Now consensus isn’t the same as unanimity, still I find it a little curious that it was reached so quickly. How might it have happened?

Assume that they follow the standard consensus process which looks a little like this:

 

Lets break it down step by step

Discussion: So here’s where they consider the merits of each candidate on paper and in person, no doubt scrutinising answers to their list of questions and scoring against the agreed criteria. These questions haven’t yet been made public but we hope that, in the interest of transparency, they will surface soon enough.

Proposal: After letting opposing sides argue it out for a piece, John Lipsky hushes the crowd. Sucks a thumb and tests the air to see which way the mood lay, clears his throat and sets out a proposal: “Lagarde to head the Fund”

Test for consensus: No. I’m sure the countries backing Carstens would stand their ground for a little while longer yet…Cue eye-rolling, foot tapping and impatient sighs from the US and European board members.

Concerns raised: Mexico got on the soap box? UK puts the kettle on.

Modification to proposal: Did they modify the proposal? Well, seeing as no modifications could realistically have been made, probably not. Unless there was an under the table promise of the deputy MD post (fat chance) or a high-level IMF appointment (time will tell).

Stand Aside: It is more likely that some members, if not for turning, simply backed down.

Test for consensus take two: Why not.

Consensus Achieved: So there you have it, pencils down and Lagarde on speed-dial

Ok, well I for one doubt it was anything like that. Still I’m curious as to how the debate, if there was one, played out. Did board members representing groups of countries have a clear battle plan? How long to stand their ground? What demands or concessions to make?

Perhaps a board member will tell all in days to come? We’ll keep an ear to the ground.

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