The field for the top job at the IMF is narrowing after the Fund’s board declined to change the rules on age, blocking Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fisher from the coveted post.
Fisher is 67, two years older than the limit. Officials said changing the rules would have meant re-opening the selection process to allow other older candidates to apply.
The move further boosts the chances of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, seen by many as a favourite for what is effectively one of the most powerful jobs in the world.
Lagarde is backed by Europe, which holds one third of the votes, as well as several other countries. If she wins she would become the first woman to hold the post.
Lagarde has been short-listed along with Agustin Carstens, the head of Mexico’s central bank. He has significant support in Latin and South America.
The IMF executive board will now meet this month in Washington to consider the candidates and is due to make a selection by the end of June.