who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Wolfowitz's press conference performance: some clues on the dynamics? I thought (via web streaming) that Wolfowitz looked quite unconfident in the press conference. He looked down frequently when responding to questions and seemed hesitant at times (before remembering he was just meant to parrot back the communique or duck the questions by talking about other issues*).

Many journalists asked good questions, though none tried to pin down when the board might finish its supposedly expeditious deliberations.

A couple of questions pushed him on whether he had the credibility to remain at the Bank, or if he wasn't harming both himself and the institution by remaining. Wolfowitz would not be drawn on that. So let me spell it out: the majority of questions concerned the Wolfowitz affair and not one question to the World Bank president was on the important issues the institution is supposed to tackle.

This means that the media at least have lost interest in Wolfowitz's views on the real agenda. And following the loss of confidence by several ministers, Bank staff, NGOs, think tank leaders, etc, it is clear that Wolfowitz is a liability not an asset for the Bank.

It was interesting that Wolfowitz seemed most caught of guard when a journalist asked whether he has had recent conversations with the White House or Secretary Paulson which might indicate a weakening of US government support. Wolfowitz started saying something then recalled his instructions and said he'd "stick to the words [of the communique]". Could that journalist have been onto something? Is there a reason Wolfowitz did not just deny further conversations/weakening of support? Or am I clutching at straws here?

*An analysis of many of the real issues raised and decided at the Spring Meetings - especially on aid quality and quantity, and on debt relief, will be on the Eurodad website within 48 hours. These issues are extremely important and are overshadowed by the Wolfowitz saga. But the only way to remove the shadow is to remove the man, it seems to me.

Alex Wilks ~ April 15, 2007

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