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Emerging nations slam Europe's hold on IMF top job

26. May 2011. | 06:28

Source: MIA

The world's largest emerging economies on Tuesday slammed Europe's push to hold on to the IMF's top job, calling its lock on the managing director's position "obsolete."

The world's largest emerging economies on Tuesday slammed Europe's push to hold on to the IMF's top job, calling its lock on the managing director's position "obsolete."

International Monetary Fund directors from China, Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS economies -- said that the longstanding arrangement that has allowed only Europeans to lead the IMF "undermines the legitimacy of the Fund."

"We are concerned with public statements made recently by high-level European officials to the effect that the position of managing director should continue to be occupied by a European," they said.

The five countries made their objections a day after the IMF opened up the process for nominations to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last Wednesday after being arrested in New York on sexual assault charges. Strauss-Kahn denies the charges.

The BRICS directors said the financial crisis that erupted in developed countries underscored the need to reform financial institutions like the IMF "to reflect the growing role of developing countries in the world economy."

"This requires abandoning the obsolete unwritten convention that requires that the head of the IMF be necessarily from Europe."

"We believe that, if the Fund is to have credibility and legitimacy, its managing director should be selected after broad consultation with the membership. It should result in the most competent person being appointed as managing director, regardless of his or her nationality."

The statement, which was sent out by email from the IMF itself, came in reaction to the strong push by European countries in support of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to replace her compatriot Strauss-Kahn.

For years developing countries have complained about the "gentlemen's agreement" dating to the founding of the IMF at the end of World War II that keeps a European at the head of the Fund while an American leads its sister institution, the World Bank.


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