Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron insisted Tuesday that his predecessor Gordon Brown shouldn't become a candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund, and suggested the next chief should be the first from outside of Europe.
Cameron said Brown may not be a suitable contender to replace Dominique Strauss-Khan, because of his views on what needs to be done to sort out Britain's public finances. During Brown's premiership, Britain's borrowings mushroomed in the wake of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession.
The Prime Minister said the next chief must be someone who "understands the dangers of excessive debt," and suggested the IMF should look to emerging economies in India, China or South Asia for a candidate, instead of a "washed up politician."
"It may well be it's time actually to have a candidate from another part of the world in order to increase its standing in the world," he said.
That would mark a change of direction for the IMF, which has been headed by a European since its formation after World War II. Frenchman Strauss-Khan is widely tipped to leave the post he has held since late 2007 at the end of this year, and possibly make a run for his country's presidency in 2012.
Since taking office last May, Cameron's coalition government has set out 81 billion pounds ($132 billion) worth of spending cuts. The opposition Labour Party, which Brown no longer leads, has called for slower and less severe budget restraint.
"If you have someone who didn't think we had a debt problem in the U.K. _ when we self-evidently do have a debt problem _ then they might not be the most appropriate person to work out whether other countries around the world have debt and deficit problems," Cameron told BBC radio.
The existing convention is that the European Union proposed the IMF's managing director, which effectively hands Cameron a veto on the process. Meanwhile, the U.S. proposes the president of the IMF's sister organization, the World Bank.