May. 19 - After Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund, the race is now on to find successor for the role that has traditionally gone to a European, as emerging economies ask for more say. Joanna Partridge reports.
For now, John Lipsky is acting head of the International Monetary Fund. But following the resignation of the IMF's managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to fight sexual assault charges, the race is hotting up to find his successor. In the 65 years since the IMF was set up, the role has been filled by a European, while an American has been chairman of the World Bank. Some European leaders want to keep it that way. SOUNDBITE: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying (German): "I believe we should propose a European candidate. Of course currently there are talks about this, I will not name any names but we will discuss this within the European Union." The early European favourite is another French citizen - the Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. She's got the backing of her Swedish counterpart. SOUNDBITE: Swedish Finance Minister, Anders Borg, saying (English): "The French minister of finance that has provided very good leadership in the Ecofin and also at the G20.". But apart from her nationality - Lagarde could face another obstacle as she has been accused of abuse of authority in a case brought by the French opposition. Also in the running for Europe is Axel Weber - the former president of Germany's Bundesbank, who had been widely expected to follow Jean-Claude Trichet to run the European Central Bank, until he ruled himself out of the race. Jens Larsen from RBC Capital Markets is backing Trichet, whose term at the ECB ends in October. SOUNDBITE: Jens Larsen, Chief European Economist, RBC Capital Markets, saying (English): "Who's got a fantastic CV in terms of crisis managment, in terms of political clout, in terms of experience of central banks, so Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also been mentioned. Some want to see the field opened up, says strategist Roger Nightingale. SOUNDBITE: Roger Nightingale, Global strategist, saying (English): "I don't think it would do much harm to have someone from China, or Brazil, or Australia or wherever else you like." If the job goes to a non-European, Kemal Dervis, the former Turkish Finance Minister is seen as a leading candidate, or Trevor Manuel - who held the same post in South Africa. Several emerging countries are calling for greater representation at the IMF - but China and Brazil have said the selection should be made "on merit." Most analysts believe it will be a European again this time around. The IMF itself only stipulates that candidates must be 65 or younger and the job shouldn't be held by anyone over 70. That could rule out Trichet, as well as the Israeli Central Bank Governor Stanley Fischer. Joanna Partridge, Reuters