French IMF Candidate Voices Satisfaction After Beijing Talks

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 12:10 am (UTC-5)
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French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde says she is “very satisfied” after two days of talks with Chinese leaders about her bid to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Lagarde spoke to reporters in Beijing Thursday following her meetings with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan, and other senior officials. She said the sides had agreed that the selection process should be open, transparent and based on merit.

Chinese state media quoted Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi saying after a meeting with Lagarde on Wednesday that she has explained the purpose of her candidacy and that there is “an open field” for the job.

Lagarde is considered the frontrunner to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned after being charged with attempted rape in New York City. Her strongest challenger for the post is Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens, who is due to visit China next week.

The candidates are touring world capitals to muster support for their candidacies. Lagarde failed to win any public endorsement after an earlier stop in New Delhi, prompting speculation that India may still be waiting to see if a regional candidate emerges.

Traditionally, the World Bank has been headed by an American and the IMF by a European. But many in Asia say the tradition should be abandoned in recognition of the region’s rising economic might.

China’s voting share in the IMF was increased last year to 6.19 percent from the previous 3.65 percent in recognition of its role as the world’s second largest economy. The French news agency AFP quoted Lagarde on Thursday saying China’s share should be boosted to 6.4 percent.