who will be next World Bank President What will they do


New rumours on Wolfowitz departure timing. (Update). A tip reached me overnight that Wolfowitz's departure may be announced before European leaders arrive in Washington DC for Monday's EU-US summit meeting. The Washington Post also carries a comment from "a senior Bank official" saying that the board committee has already decided to recommend Wolfowitz leaves.

Peter S. Goodman, writes in the Washington Post:
"a senior bank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested that members of the committee had already decided to recommend Wolfowitz's ouster, casting Monday's appearance as a last-ditch appeal before the panel pronounces judgment.

Committee members were circulating a draft of the document they planned to release next week outlining Wolfowitz's ethical breaches and formally recommending his expulsion, the official said.

Such a move would substantially weaken Wolfowitz's hand, though it would not end his tenure. Rather, it would leave his fate to the full, 24-member board of governors."

Other stories carry a message from Wolfowitz's lawyer Robert Bennett saying that the Bank president will appear before the Bank's board on Monday. Bennett may attend, but not speak.

Journalists at the US-EU summit will I'm sure want to ask Bush, Merkel and Barroso about this very messy affair. It seems to prove exactly the opposite of what European Commission president José Manuel Barroso is spinning out ahead of the summit. One line in the release about Barroso's speech in New York today reads: "Europe and the US enjoy deep bonds of kinship, now it is time to deepen our economic partnership".

Wolfowitz, and the US government's dogged backing of their man in the World Bank, is only re-emphasising trans-atlantic differences, differences which Wolfowitz and similar unilateralist thinkers did so much to foster in 2002-2003.

I can't recommend that you rush to the betting shop to put a lot of money on decisive action before Monday, but the chances seem to be increasing. This is not the first rumour of Mr W's departure announcement.

Alex Wilks ~ April 27, 2007

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