EU countries start talks to propose new IMF chief

EU states have started talks to agree on a candidate to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a European Commission spokesman said on Thursday.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, announced his resignation earlier on Thursday following charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York, the IMF said on its website. He was arrested last Sunday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after boarding a plane to Paris.

Strauss-Kahn is currently in jail in the United Sates. He denies the charges and will make an application for bail later on Thursday.

The European Commission insisted that the next IMF leader must come from the European Union.

“While nationality is not a criteria in relation to the succession, it is only natural that the member states of the European Union, as the biggest contributor to the fund, agree on a strong, competent candidate who can rally support from the IMF membership for the future leadership of this critically important institution,” a Commission spokeswoman said.

“I’m sure that now consultations will intensify about the succession and about putting forward a strong European candidate to take up the position,” she added.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is the leading contender to take the post. However, Russian Central Bank Deputy Chairman Sergei Shvetsov has said Strauss-Kahn’s replacement should come from a developing country and on Thursday the Council of Heads of CIS States gave its backing to the candidacy of Grigory Marchenko, the chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Bank.

The head of South Korea’s central bank, Kim Choong-soo, and South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan have also called for a developing nation to supply the Fund’s next chief and other contenders are likely to emerge.

The leaders of the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations have committed to “support new open, transparent and merit-based selection processes,” but haven’t detailed how that would be handled. By tradition, dating back to the founding of the institutions after World War II, Europeans usually head the IMF and Americans head the World Bank.

BRUSSELS, May 19 (RIA Novosti)

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