For all practical purposes, the choice of a new chief for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being dictated by a European cabal. French finance minister Christine Lagarde is the frontrunner and has the backing of most leaders from her continent.
This support is in contrast to their marked ability in bungling their economies. The ongoing crisis in Greece and the daily warnings of healthy economies being in danger of infection are too well known to be reiterated. If Lagarde is selected—and it certainly does not look like an election—IMF’s stock is sure to plummet.
The statement of executive directors of five emerging economies at IMF—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)—demanding an election based on merit and not nationality makes much sense even if it is unlikely to be heeded. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke the truth when he said that the powerful seldom relinquish power by choice.