Lagarde 'confident' of IMF job after Egypt talks

AFP, Sunday 12 Jun 2011

French candidate meets Samir Radwan in Cairo during a whirlwind tour aimed at locking emerging powers' official backing for her leadership bid

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said on Sunday she was "confident" of her chances of heading the International Monetary Fund, while declining to comment on her Israeli rival for the post.

"I am very confident, particularly after several meetings here in Egypt," Lagarde told reporters in Cairo after talks with her Egyptian counterpart Samir Radwan. "We have had excellent meetings."

Egypt is on the 24-member executive board which is due to reach a consensus on naming a new IMF chief at the end of this month.

On Saturday, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer -- an American economist who took Israeli citizenship and previously held the number two post at the IMF -- announced that he was in the race.

Lagarde, who on Saturday was in Saudi Arabia where she also voiced confidence, declined to comment on Fischer's candidacy, saying only: "He has past experience as the number two at the IMF ... Everybody is free to file a candidacy."

The IMF's top post opened unexpectedly after Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned on 18 May to fight sexual assault charges in New York.

Despite a whirlwind world tour that has taken her from Brasilia to Beijing via New Delhi, Lagarde has failed to lock official backing from emerging powers in the race to become managing director of the world's crisis lender.

Her main rival before Fischer entered the race has been Mexico's central bank chief Agustin Carstens.

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