Lagarde gets Indonesia backing for her IMF bid

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The Independent Online

Indonesia yesterday became the first major emerging market to back Christine Lagarde's push to be the head of the International Monetary Fund.

The G20 nation had previously failed to endorse a candidate as Asia considered selecting its own candidate for a post traditionally held by a European.

"Personally I support France," Indonesia's finance minister, Agus Martowardojo, told Reuters at a World Economic Forum event in Jakarta. "She is a very professional person. She is smart in interacting between institutions, and has high integrity and skills."

Ms Lagarde has also claimed the support of Egypt for her bid to lead the IMF. After meeting the country's finance and foreign ministers and the governor of the Egyptian central bank, she told a news conference the Egyptian government had been "very affirmative" in support of her candidacy.

Ms Lagarde is up against the Bank of Israel's governor and former IMF deputy chief, Stanley Fischer, who threw his hat in the ring on Saturday, as well as Mexico's top central banker, Agustin Carstens. The job was vacated by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who faces sex assault charges in the US.

Ms Lagarde has been travelling the world to boost support for her bid from emerging market economies. This included a visit on Saturday to Saudi Arabia.

"I have the honour of having been presented by Bahrain and having the support of other countries [in the region] that have expressed themselves," Ms Lagarde said.