NEW DELHI, (AFP) — India’s finance minister said Thursday he was coordinating with other emerging countries to back a common candidate to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I am in touch with some of the finance ministers of developing countries and emerging economies… We are trying to consolidate our position where we can take a view,” Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi, according to the PTI news agency.
On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on developing countries to unite behind a push to reform the global financial institution, whose head has traditionally always been a European.
IMF directors from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — the so-called BRICS economies — said in a declaration Tuesday that Europe’s grip on the IMF leadership “undermines the legitimacy of the Fund”.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has emerged as front-runner for the post, receiving wide European backing, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit following his arrest in New York on charges of attempted rape.
India has not declared support for any candidate, but its representative at the Washington-based lender conceded Wednesday that it would be “extremely difficult” for a non-European to take the top job.
“Unless the voting shares which various countries hold in the IMF are changed to reflect the new economic realities, it is going to be extremely difficult for any non-European candidate to win the election,” New Delhi’s IMF representative Arvind Virmani told India’s NDTV news channel.
India’s top candidate for the post, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has been ruled out because he is too old, Virmani said earlier this week.
Currently, European nations hold close to a third of the voting power at the International Monetary Fund while the United States has nearly 17 percent.
Asian nations hold around 20 percent, with the rest held by other countries.