Lagarde and Carstens shortlisted for IMF job
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has shortlisted French finance minister Christine Lagarde and Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens for the IMF's top job.
And in a surprise move it has failed to change IMF rules to include Bank of Israel's Stanley Fischer because he is over 65 adding that this would require the re-opening of the selection process.
"The executive board will meet with the candidates in Washington and, thereafter, meet to discuss the strengths of the candidates and make a selection," the board said in a statement yesterday.
It added that it plans to complete the selection by June 30, as expected.
Front-runner Ms Lagarde is backed by the European Union and a handful of other countries.
Mr Carstens has the support of a dozen Latin American countries but it is widely expected that Europe will maintain its 65-year grip on the job.
Mr Carstens acknowledged on Monday during an appearance in Washington that he was a long-shot candidate and he knew chances were "quite high" that Lagarde would get the job left vacant by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested in New York in May on sexual assault charges. He has denied the charges.
The Mexican candidate added that the European debt crisis has made it harder to break the tradition of European leadership at the fund, even though members agreed some time ago the next managing director should be selected on the basis of merit.
The US treasury department has yet to endorse a candidate although the odds are on its backing of Ms Lagarde.
But she still faces tough questioning when she is interviewed by the 24-member board considering economic conditions in Europe.