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And then there were two: IMF drops one of three candidates for director shortlist

International Monetary Fund has whittled down the candidates from three to two, with Christine Lagarde one of the finalists.

The finalists: Augustin Carstens and Christine Lagarde meeting in 2008.
The finalists: Augustin Carstens and Christine Lagarde meeting in 2008.
Image: AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

THE  HEAD OF ISRAEL’S Central Bank has been cut from the IMF’s shortlist of candidates to become the organisation’s new director.

Stanley Fischer’s application was confirmed at the weekend by the fund, but it notified him last night to say that as he was two years older than the age limit (65 years is the cut-off), he was being disqualified.

JTA reports that Fischer says he will “proudly and happily” continue working at the Bank of Israel.

Fischer’s elimination leaves France’s Christine Lagarde, widely considered the favourite for the post, and Mexico’s Agustín Carstens. The job traditionally goes to a European and Carstens acknowledged yesterday that his bid was a long shot. However, he said he didn’t think a European should head the organisation because European nations are borrowing heavily from it and a European appointment could be a conflict of interest.

He also said he believed it was important for developing countries to play a part in the election for the next IMF chief- something they have been campaigning for. While a European tends to head the IMF, an American runs the World Bank – a tradition dating back to WWII.

The IMF’s last director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn from France, resigned his post last month after a New York hotel chambermaid accused him of attempted rape and assault at the hotel.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read Nick Leeson’s column: We must seize the day when Greece defaults >

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