France FinMin Christine Lagarde Tipped to Head IMFWorld | May 20, 2011, Friday // 10:05| views
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is pictured here at the World Economic Forum in Davos at the end of January this year. Photo by EPA/BGNES
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is very likely to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the helm of the International Monetary Fund, according to reports.
"I would argue that Christine Lagarde has outstanding credentials," Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
Her gender is an "advantage" since "half of the world has not been represented as managing director" of the IMF, Borg said.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Lagarde would be "an excellent choice" as Europe's candidate, the Italian government said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Berlusconi said it's "fundamental" that Europe should reach a common position on who the candidate should be as soon as possible, the statement said.
European Union President Herman Van Rompuy has called for a quick decision on a new IMF leader, saying Strauss-Kahn's arrest has hurt efforts to tackle Greece's financial crisis.
"We can't lose time," Van Rompuy told a conference yesterday in Brussels. "We are feeling a lack of leadership in solving the Greek crisis."
Europe is likely to succeed in getting Lagarde the job as developing nations are too divided to back a single candidate, said world-renowned economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the recent global financial crisis.
"The Europeans are going to be united in wanting a European, and I think the European candidate is going to be Christine Lagarde," Roubini, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Europeans have picked IMF heads for 65 years under a deal that also gives the U.S. control over the top World Bank post. The No. 2 person at the IMF has traditionally been chosen by the U.S.
Lipsky, 64, the No. 2 official at the fund, will remain acting leader, the fund said in a statement May 18.
Lipsky called presumed frontrunner Lagarde "very, very talented" and a "capable leader."
Lagarde, 55, declined to comment on her potential candidacy when questioned by reporters in Paris yesterday. She said that the successor to Strauss-Kahn should come from Europe.
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