Southern European candidates pull out of race to head IMF

Portuguese and Spanish candidates have pulled out of the race to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Candidates from Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands are left in the running as European Union ministers Friday started voting on a joint nominee.

Former Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the World Bank’s Bulgarian Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva, and Finnish Central Bank Chief, Olli Rehn, are the remaining candidates for the EU nomination.

The position of IMF managing director is traditionally held by a European, while the president of its sister institution the World Bank has always been from the U.S.

The IMF’s current Managing Director, Christine Lagarde of France, is resigning to take up a new job as head of the European Central Bank.

The Spanish government withdrew the nomination of Economy Minister, Nadia Calvino in order to help reach agreement among European ministers, government spokeswoman, Isabel Celaa, said in Madrid.

Earlier, the French Economy Ministry indicated that Portuguese Finance Minister, Mario Centeno, had withdrawn from the race.

France is steering efforts to come up with a single nominee from the European Union, but in the absence of consensus around any of the five initial candidates decided to hold a vote.

The vote is taking place using the EU’s qualified majority system.

Which means the successful candidate needs the support of 16 out of 28 member states representing at least 65 per cent of the total EU population.

Emerging countries have recently challenged the unwritten rule that the managing director of the IMF must be European, but the EU nominee is still highly favoured to take the job. (dpa/NAN)