Is this finally the week? Reality check in the US

Inside sources in Washington are abuzz. It seems this will be the week according to people in the know, and Zoellick will imminently be announcing his attention to not seek a second term. They didn’t have an exact date for the announcement – could be Tuesday or as late as Friday. But now is really the time to start thinking about the processes – after all a well designed process would have started 6 weeks ago.

So the post yesterday by Nancy Birdsall over at CGD provides a timely look into the US political constraints. She asks:

Can the Obama White House in an election year, facing a Congress suspicious of a globally honored president, eschew pushing through its own American candidate? …

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Who’s in charge of the process?

The Board of course, theoretically. But I spoke to someone very close to a board member who took the view that it’s up to Zoellick to decide if he wants to stay on or not.  COGAM (board subcommittee) meets next week, I hear they’re going to discuss the paper on the selection process they approved last year.

And I spoke to someone senior in the Integrity Vice Presidency who suggested that they knew it would reflect badly on the Bank if there’s no transparent process, but what can you do, it’s up to the Board…

When will it all kick off?

Succession planning is already underway at World Bank, the media have speculated at length about possible replacements, and Zoellick continues to tantalise Bankwatchers by keeping mum.  But hold on, this is the wrong way round, isn’t it?

Zoellick was selected in 2007, the year before the Bank’s governors, the G20 and virtually every related international institution you can think of began repeatedly promising we’d have a merit-based process next time. Well, next time is now.  No matter what Zoellick wants, the Bank’s board should organise a transparent process for his successor, even if Zoellick decides he wants another shot.

So, when should they do this?  Continue reading