With Dominique Strauss-Kahn in jail in New York facing sex assault charges, the question is being asked who might succeed him as head of the International Monetary Fund.
The post has traditionally gone to a European, but there is rising pressure to consider a developing-country candidate.
John Lipsky – Strauss-Kahn’s deputy – is running the IMF for the moment, but he is due to step down when his five-year term ends in August.
The list of potential candidates includes former UK finance minister and prime minister Gordon Brown; France’s current finance minister Christine Lagarde;
Gemany’s ex-finance minister Peer Steinbruck; Kemal Dervis, who saw Turkey through difficult economic times; Montek Singh Ahluwalia, a key figure in India’s economic reforms, and Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens. Also mentioned has been Trevor Manuel who served as finance minister of South Africa from 1996 to 2009.
In recent years developing nations have demanded a greater say in running the IMF and World Bank. So how might China use its influence?
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu gave little away as she said: “The selection of the next head of the IMF should be based on ‘fairness, transparency and merit’, and China and the EU should build an equal partnership.”
Brazil was more direct. Reuters quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying the next IMF head should come from a large emerging market country.
The official said: “We believe India and Brazil would be good options. But we also believe that Europe is likely to keep its deep stranglehold on the position, and so we’re not planning to push very hard on this issue for now.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has signalled she prefers another European to run the IMF, which is heavily involved in bailouts of struggling euro zone countries Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
German daily Bild put a couple more financial figures in the frame on Tuesday. It reported Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann’s name is being circulated in Berlin as a possible candidate along with Thomas Mirow, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It gave no sources for the report.