Commentators on Rodrigo Rato’s unanticipated announcement that he will step down as head of the IMF have not been slow to make the links with the just ended World Bank leadership selection process. A Reuters piece has three people drawing comparisons, while the Bretton Woods Project was quick off the blocks also with a statement demanding a new process to decide who’ll head the Fund.
The BWP release states: “European countries are now being given a second chance to lead the reform of international financial institutions. They just missed a historic opportunity with the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank. But they can atone by ensuring that the next IMF managing director is selected through an open, transparent and inclusive process, where selection is based on merit not nationality, and where the views of all members have equal weight.”
Oxfam’s Bernice Romero said something very similar in this Reuters piece. And an unnamed developing country official told Reuters: “It will be important for the credibility of that reform process that the selection process is opened up to candidates other than a European,” the official told Reuters.
Finally Kenneth Rogoff, a former IMF chief economist and now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he was worried that the
United States would not press for change in the IMF selection process because European allies had backed
Washington’s World Bank nominee Zoellick. “I’m worried that what’s going to happen now is, the Europeans will say, ‘When Wolfowitz left we didn’t bug you, so why don’t we just have a European (at the IMF) and defer the issue too”. I’m not optimistic either that the mutual backscratching and horse trading will stop. Most likely the Europeans will again push one (or perhaps two) Europeans forward rather than relinquish the position. Eurodad’s member NGOs and allies across the region will continue to push our governments to do the right thing, however, and expose the large gaps between the rhetoric and positions that many of them espouse, and the actions they take in the IFIs, notably on the leader selection.
By the way blogging on the IMF leadership won’t take place here, but some of us will add posts on the IFIwatchnet blog, and perhaps other places.
Update, 5 July.
In fact there is now a new blog to track the process for who will succeed Rodrigo de Rato as head of the International Monetary Fund. Set up by friends at Bretton Woods Project and IFIwatchnet, it can be found at: www.IMFleadership.org. Enjoy.