Jubilee Debt Campaign UK launch online action demanding public hearing

Jubilee Debt Campaign have launched an action calling for Christine Lagarde and Agustín Carstens to commit to a public hearing with people affected by the IMF around the world. They say:

Millions of people around the world are affected by the impact of the IMF’s loan conditions and economic ‘advice’, yet there’s been no opportunity for anyone outside the global financial elite to question them in detail and in public … It’s time those on the receiving end had a chance to ask the questions in a public hearing

As well as refering to questions already set out by civil society, the action focuses particularly on the following two questions:

First, I believe it is outdated, undemocratic and illegitimate for senior management at international financial institutions to be nominated and chosen on the basis of their nationality. Powerful countries must stop undermining multilateral institutions by maintaining their stranglehold over certain positions. Will you commit to appointing your deputy managing directors through a genuinely open, merit-based and transparent process?

Second, IMF-sanctioned austerity policies are causing irreparable social, and economic damage in many countries across the world.  Will you commit to reviewing and reversing these policies, to support instead sustainable job creation and prevent the poorest from being the victims of global economic problems?

Go here to TAKE ACTION!


In the news: Lagarde limbers up, Brazil backs Carstens (maybe)

Today Lagarde meets with the IMF board following meetings with IMF officials and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner yesterday. Although still a long-shot, Carstens may be buoyed somewhat by the news that Brazil may back him after all. Paulo Nogueira-Batista, Brazil’s executive director at the Fund was quoted as saying “Brazil may well decide to support Carstens”. More symbolic than anything (their chair commands 2.79% of the vote) it at least shows a willingness to express their grievances at the process with deeds as well as words and saves Carstens the embarrassment of not having the support of leaders from his own region. Nogueira-Batista continues, “this institution has a long way to go in undoing problematic governance structures … this [campaign] process has helped somewhat by highlighting the weaknesses”.

Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board member pointed to the dilemma faced by many nations in voting for anyone else but Lagarde, saying that “in the end this person is going to be the managing director of the institution. There is really no sense in voting for somebody else when it’s clear who will win”.

Still looming is the French courts’ decision on whether to pursue legal action against Lagarde for accusations of abuse of office over a settlement between businessman Bernard Tapie and the French government. Recent reports suggest that an official under her ministry’s authority is too under investigation.

The IMF board will meet on June 28 to discuss the candidates, announcing the victor by June 30.

Carstens states his case for the top job

Carstens’ presentation to the IMF board reads like a power play in challenging the legitimacy of the Fund and their commitment to a transparent and merit-based selection process.

Lagarde will no doubt benefit from Carstens’ statement being made public before she meets with the board on Thursday. Still, Carstens sure to have the Lagarde camp working overtime produce a convincing declaration of her suitability for the post.

It started in May with an eight page curriculum vitae of sorts in which he spelled out why he should get the job, starting:

To facilitate the transparent and merit-based selection process, I hereby offer an overview of my professional background; economic policymaking record; managerial and diplomatic skills, with particular attention to multilateral cooperation; understanding of the Fund and the policy challenges facing the Fund´s diverse membership; and, in closing, my strategic vision for the institution.

Long-time readers of the blog will no doubt be interested to see how it compares to the candidate assessments offered by some of his critics…

Throughout there are digs at the European stitch up such as: “we need a Managing Director who can best serve all of the member countries, not merely those experiencing challenges at one particular point in time.”

Continue reading “Carstens states his case for the top job”

Candidates ready themselves to face the panel

We had a pretty good idea already but yesterday the IMF board made public the interview dates for each candidate. Carstens will meet the Board today whilst Lagarde will have her interview on Thursday the 23 June. The statement reads:

During their informal meetings with the Board, each candidate will present their views on issues facing the Fund and the membership, and the Executive Directors will be able to exchange views with the candidates. Candidates’ statements will be published on the Fund’s website following these meetings.

We look forward to reading them.

The Board will review each candidate next week and make a final decision by June 30.

Lagarde left for Washington with a box chocolates and best wishes from her European counterparts. Not that she needs the luck, I mean, they’ll be voting for her either way, right?