Lagarde takes IMF campaign to emerging economies

The French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde dashed to India yesterday as she sought to secure the backing of the Asian country for her candidacy to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ms Lagarde held meetings with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, along with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the head of the country's planning commission and the man who would have been India's pick for the job were he not three years past the mandatory-retirement age of 65. Ms Lagarde said if she were elected, part of her would become Indian.

She said she had received no assurances from the politicians, but they had agreed that the successful candidate should be selected on merit rather than nationality.

Ms Lagarde is at the centre of a dispute over who should next head the IMF, after the arrest of its former managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.

According to an unwritten tradition that has existed since the end of the Second World War, the IMF has always been headed by a European while the World Bank has had an American at the helm.

Ms Lagarde has the backing of the UK and Europe, but some of the world's leading developing nations have expressed concern over the job again going to a European.

Last month, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the self-styled Brics nations – said: "We are concerned with public statements made recently by high-level European officials to the effect that the position of managing director should continue to be occupied by a European. The recent financial crisis which erupted in developed countries underscored the urgency of reforming international financial institutions so as to reflect the growing role of developing countries in the world economy."

Most people believe Ms Lagarde to be the clear favourite for the post, partly because the developing nations have failed to get around an alternative candidate.

Agustin Carstens, the governor of the Bank of Mexico, is seen as the only other strong option. Mr Carstens, who is to visit India later this week to press his case, has accused the European nations of not playing fairly. But Ms Lagarde appears not to be taking anything for certain. At a press conference at the French Embassy in Delhi, where red French hens pecked away on a closely cropped lawn, she said: "I did not seek assurance. It would be premature and it would be arrogant on my part to expect assurance or reassurance. I was here to present my candidacy and listen to the concerns of an emerging-market economy as important as India."

Speaking to The Independent earlier this year, Ms Lagarde said there were too many men in the world of finance and a surfeit of testosterone.

Asked how she might tackle that should she be elected, she yesterday said: "If I was elected as managing director I would stand on my own two feet as a woman, not necessarily in a pair of trousers, and with a level of testosterone lower than some of those in this room." Mr Mukherjee yesterday said India had not yet given its support to any candidate.

"No assurance," he said. "We are working together with the Brics countries. It is difficult to say at right this moment because there is a divergence of views in respect of different candidates." As part of her ongoing effort to try to secure the support of developing nations for her candidacy for the position ahead of the closing date for applicants on 10 June, Ms Lagarde she will be in Beijing today, followed by a meeting of African nations in Lisbon, Jeddah and then Cairo.

She said she would then have 24 hours in Paris.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
Could Greece leave the EU?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'