French nominee favourite to be next IMF head

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French nominee favourite to be next IMF head

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It is a two-horse race to take over the top job at the International Monetary Fund. Now that the deadline for nominations has passed, former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn stands clear as the front runner.

He is supported by the EU which gives his candidacy considerable clout.

But still hopeful of scooping the influential post is former Czech central banker Josef Tosovsky. He is backed by Russia, although not by Prague.

Increasingly, many developing countries believe it is time to drop the decades-old convention of having the US select the World Bank chief and Europe choose the head of the IMF.

“Brazil, Russia, India and China are playing a bigger role in world trade,” said Henry Sterdyniak of the OFCE, a leading French economic research and forecasting body.

“Asian countries are playing a bigger role in world finance but these nations remain dwarfs in terms of the IMF and the World Bank. So it is natural that they are trying to react and to change the balance of power.”

The search for a new IMF head was sparked by the sudden resignation in June of Rodrigo Rato, a former Spanish finance minister.

In the weeks ahead, a decision will be made by the board of the global financial institution which was established at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944.