who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Latest on decision timing and outcome (update). At the weekend the Bank's board failed to finish its review of the charges against Paul Wolfowitz, meaning that "deliberations over Mr. Wolfowitz would be delayed at least until the end of the week". This according to Steven R. Weisman in a New York Times piece that just went on-line. The slight delay is said to be due to "difficulties in drafting the particulars against Mr. Wolfowitz" rather than any behind the scenes deal-making. Weisman, who's been very on top of this story, quotes bank officials saying "the panel would eventually find that he violated bank rules barring conflicts of interest".

The Bank's board will share its findings with Paul Wolfowitz (expect more outbursts from his lawyer/spokesperson). But it will hold back its conclusions on what should be done:

Bank officials said the committee was also preparing a recommendation on what the full board should do in light of its finding but would not be disclosing that to Mr. Wolfowitz.

The committee is considering whether to recommend an outright removal or some kind of no-confidence vote that may persuade him to resign. That part of the conclusion is not likely to become known until later, bank officials said.

Looking at the numbers in the case of a vote Weisman summarises the situation as follows:

"If the matter comes down to some form of a no-confidence vote, European countries, as well as most countries in Asia and Latin America, are likely to line up against Mr. Wolfowitz.

African countries are known to be torn, with many of them favorable to Mr. Wolfowitz’s emphasis on increasing assistance in the sub-Saharan region, but others worry that his continued presence may discourage European countries from financing programs for Africa through the bank.

The only countries that bank officials say are lined up for Mr. Wolfowitz are the United States, Canada and Japan, about 28 percent of the total".

That sounds about right to me.

The New Yorker, meanwhile, has a 'No Blame, no Shame' article indicating that "The Bush Administration has come close to perfecting the art of unaccountability. ... Assertion is the neoconservative style of avoiding accountability: don’t give an inch or they’ll tear you to pieces. Wolfowitz’s ally Richard Perle once said that to express public doubts about the Iraq war 'would be fatal'."

Mark Leibovitch, writing in the International Herald Tribune, also has a piece looking ahead to this week's events. Comparing the saga to a popular TV programme he writes: "Beltway wise guys have amused themselves with a distinctively local version of the TV show "Survivor," pitting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales against Paul Wolfowitz, the World Bank chief. Who will be first banished from the swamp?" Mixing his metaphors he predicts they will both go soon ("a pervasive belief has taken hold that both are, in the tender parlance of politics, road kill"), but declines to make his own prediction on who will go first.

Update. 12.45 EST
Reuters has a story indicating that the Bank board committee has delivered its findings to Paul Wolfowitz. The full board will receive the report tomorrow (Tuesday) and discuss Wolfowitz's future later in the week.

Alex Wilks ~ May 07, 2007

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