French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said she will fly to Brazil Sunday night and also plans to visit the Middle East as she kicks off her global tour to rally support from the emerging world for her bid to lead the International Monetary Fund.She is trying to make the various emerging world leaders understand that it should be another European at the helm of the International Monetary Fund just as, traditionally, an American heads the World Bank.
Brazil is to be her first stop as it was the first country to have invited her, Ms. Lagarde said in an interview with French radio Europe 1. She told The Wall Street Journal last week that Brazil, China and India were must stops on a global campaigning tour to secure broad backing to be the first woman to lead the international institution.
That, they say, is unfair. How about somebody from the BRIC countries or the Middle East? What about their interests? True, but then again, who contributes most money to these institutions. Not Brazil, that's for sure.
While Ms. Lagarde has the backing of most European countries, emerging nations are more skeptical toward her candidacy. Several of them have said the job should go to a candidate from an emerging nation to reflect their growing weight on the world scene, and they have questioned the clubby arrangement under which the job of IMF managing director has gone to a European while the World Bank has been headed by an American. Ms. Lagarde said her trip was intended to allay such concerns.Just imagine what would happen if a Jewish banker were appointed to that position even if he is just a central bank governor. Our conspiracy theorists will go into overdrive.
Mexico's central bank governor, Agustin Carstens, also declared his candidacy last week, while Israeli central banker Stanley Fischer is examining a formal bid to seek the position and figures he has an outside shot at the job if there is a deadlock in the voting, said an official familiar with his thinking.
Mr. Fischer, a former deputy managing director of the IMF, is a long shot. While he is widely respected among central bankers and finance ministers, his current position as Israel's central bank governor would make it tough to win the support of Arab nations and other emerging-market countries, said an Arab official who has worked with Mr. Fischer.
Personally, I think she will be appointed for one very good reason: whenever there is a resignation over a sex scandal a woman is appointed as a successor.
Of course, they could consider the real solution and that is the abolition of the IMF but, somehow, with that many snouts in the trough, I do not think that will happen.