After Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned over a sex scandal, Lagarde’s name was quickly suggested in European circles as a possible successor.
According to an unwritten rule, a European heads the IMF, whilst an American leader the World Bank. However, this time, many emerging nations demanded a greater say in the organisation, especially since their economies are growing compared to those of Europe, which are stagnating.
In order to secure support, the current French Finance minister has undertaken on a campaign-style swing through Brazil, India and China, where she got local backing or at least statements of non-opposition. Now she is set to visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Russian PM Vladimir Putin voiced his support for the French woman, who has stressed her desire to give developing countries a greater say.
Another candidate, former Mexican Finance minister Agustin Carstens, appears to have few backers in developing nations, including Argentina and Brazil, despite the support of 12 Latin American nations. Next week, he is off to India, China and Japan.
Nominations to the IMF’s top job must be in by tonight at the latest. The name of the new chief should be known by the end of the month.