Euro zone finance ministers to choose successor to ECB's Praet on Feb. 11

Euro zone finance ministers to choose successor to ECB's Praet on Feb. 11
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers, the Eurogroup, will choose the successor to European Central Bank chief economist Peter Praet at their meeting on Feb. 11, the spokesman for the Eurogroup President said on Friday.

Luis Rego said euro zone countries would be able to make their bids from Jan. 21 for Praet's position on the ECB's executive board, which will become vacant from June.

Finance ministers from the 19 countries using the euro will choose from among the candidates with a simple majority vote, in which each country has one vote, irrespective of the size of its economy or population.

The candidate will then go for a hearing in the European Parliament, which issues its non-binding opinion. The parliament's negative opinions have been ignored in the past.

The candidate will be formally appointed by EU leaders at a summit on March 21-22, in a qualified majority vote, reflecting the economic size and population of the voters.

While no candidates have yet been put forward, euro zone officials often mention Ireland's central bank governor Philip Lane as front runner for the job.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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