Lagarde makes case to lead IMF

AP News
Posted: Jun 23, 2011 6:02 PM
Lagarde makes case to lead IMF

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde made her case Thursday to lead the International Monetary Fund.

Lagarde said she outlined her vision for the global lending institution's future in a three-hour meeting with the IMF executive board and in separate one-on-one meetings with its members.

"I believe that the fund should be more responsive, certainly more effective and more legitimate," she said following the meetings.

The board hopes to choose by June 30 between Lagarde and Mexico's central bank head Agustin Carstens. Lagarde is seen as the favorite.

Former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned last month after he was charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel housekeeper. He denies the allegation.

After hearing presentations from both Carstens and Lagarde and interviewing them, the IMF's executive board said it planned to meet June 28 to make a selection of a new managing director with the aim of completing that process by June 30.

"I will leave it to their wisdom, to their judgment to complete the process, which has been clearly both open and transparent," Lagarde said.

The United States, the largest shareholder in the IMF, has yet to announce whether it will back Lagarde or Carstens.

Asked about a decision on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called both candidates "very credible" and said the United States wanted to see the race resolved quickly. However, he refused to say whether the Obama administration had decided to back Lagarde.

Geithner, who met with Carstens last week, was also expected to meet Lagarde while she is in Washington this week.

In an interview last week, Carstens said that he knows he faces an uphill battle. But he argued that he is the more qualified candidate.

Lagarde is a lawyer by training, while Carstens holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. He also worked in top jobs at the IMF and served as Mexico's finance minister before taking his current position as head of Mexico's central bank.