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IMF hopeful Christine Lagarde declared an "international superstar" by a leading economist

Praise is rolling in for Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Finister who’s gunning for the top job at the IMF. However, several countries are hanging back from giving her their complete backing.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde arrives to announce her candidacy surrounded by members of her staff
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde arrives to announce her candidacy surrounded by members of her staff
Image: Thibault Camus/AP/Press Association Images

FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER Christine Lagarde, who yesterday announced her candidacy for head of the IMF, has received high praise from Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell, who has described her as an “international superstar”.

Mundell, who’s an adviser to the IMF, joined US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in singing Lagarde’s praises. Geithner has called her “exceptionally capable” with “the kind of political skill you need you need to navigate this context”.

Geithner stopped short of formally endorsing Lagarde though, reports Bloomberg. He was speaking at at event in Washington, where he refrained from playing favourites by declaring another candidate, governor of the Mexican central bank Agustin Carstens, to be “very talented”.

Lagarde has already all but secured Ireland’s backing. The Irish Independent reports that yesterday Finance Minister Michael Noonan described her as an “excellent candidate” while Minister for State for Europe Lucinda Creighton said Ireland wouldn’t have any concerns about Lagarde taking the IMF job. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile says the Frenchwoman could “seamlessly” step into the role, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

China is being more cautious, according to Reuters, asking that there be a democratic process in choosing the new IMF chief and that some negotiation at least should take place.

The role as head of the International Monetary Fund is up for grabs since Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned from the job last week, amid an ongoing criminal case in which he is charged with the attempted rape of a chambermaid at a New York hotel.

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