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First day in challenging role for Lagarde

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First day in challenging role for Lagarde

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Christine Lagarde has taken the helm at the International Monetary Fund.

The first task for the former French finance minister is overseeing efforts by the IMF and European Union to head off a default by the Greek government on its massive debts, something that could touch off an international crisis.

Lagarde’s every move will be scrutinised by the developing nations that are unhappy with the tradition of having a European run the world’s key crisis lender.

Her contract as head of the IMF includes a clause saying she must observe “the highest standards of ethical conduct”. Her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn had no such clause in his contract.

Lagarde was backed by the EU, US and emerging economies China, India and Brazil.

She beat the Mexican candidate, Agustin Carstens for the job after Strauss-Kahn resigned following his arrest in New York in May, on charges of sexual assault. He denies the charges.