who will be next World Bank President What will they do


New candidate, French views. Le Monde confirms (French) that the World Bank president rumour-mill has picked up in recent days and that potential candidates' names are being actively tested out in different capitals. It adds a new one of its own sourced from none other than outgoing president James Wolfensohn.

Wolfensohn told Le Monde that if he had any say in the matter he would back Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska.

Hagel is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion Subcommittee and a board member of the International Republican Institute.

Le Monde says that Hagel's candidacy "would be welcomed in European diplomatic circles" as he is a moderate Republican who has has a bipartisan approach and has kept his distance from the war in Iraq. The European Institute presented the Transatlantic Leadership Award to Hagel in 2003 in reognition of his efforts to stand up for multilateralism.

Apparently, however, Hagel has presidential ambitions for 2008 which may make him less than keen to get entangled with the World Bank.

The French government told Le Monde that it would ensure that it would seek to ensure that the gains from recent years under Wolfensohn (education, health, dialogue with civil society) are maintained by the next boss and that the Bank does not simply become a grant-making institution for the poorest countries (a reference to John Taylor's well-known position).

As well as Hagel Le Monde has on its list John Snow, John Taylor, Christine Todd-Whitman, Ann Krueger, Carly Fiorina, Peter McPherson and Randall Tobias.

Babette Stern writes in Le Monde: "people are talking about nothing else in the corridors of the World Bank". And she kindly mentions us: "a website has even been established to exchange the latest gossip on the subject".

Worldbankpresident.org is keen to hear your views on Chuck Hagel, either by e-mail (contact@worldbankpresident.org) or on our web forum.

Alex Wilks ~ March 07, 2005

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