Voting arithmetic examined

With all the excited talk about the candidates and their interviews, lets get down to brass tacks – the World Bank Board is going to hold a straw poll today to check into where countries are. While a formal decision is expected to be taken and announced Monday this straw poll is important to see if the developing countries can coalesce around one candidate and make the Europeans think again about the gentleman’s agreement (read: sordid back room deal with the Americans). Who has the numbers?

It is all a bit complicated because the Bank is in the middle of their capital increase, which has not fully gone through all capitals yet. Meaning the voting rights at the board are neither the pre-2010 agreement levels, nor the final 2010 agreement levels. The Bank corporate secretary helpfully published a new table of voting rights by executive director yesterday.

Here’s the arithmetic as far as we know or can guess.

  • US, Canada, Japan for Kim. Lets add Spain/Mexico in that column since the Mexicans declared their preference. And lets Add New Zealand/Australia/South Korea as well since the Korean president has backed Kim.
  • Latin Americans for Ocampo – Brazil nominated him, the Argentinians wouldn’t dream of supporting one of the others at this point.
  • Three African constituencies for Okonjo-Iweala given the African Union support.
Kim 36.7% Okonjo-Iweala 4.9%
Ocampo 5.7% unknown 52.7%

Let’s break down the unknowns:

EU 29.2%
India 4.6%
China 3.4%
Switzerland 3.0%
Saudi Arabia 2.4%
Russia 1.7%
Other Asia 9.5%

As you can see, if Ocampo or Okonjo-Iweala are to win countries within the EU will have to break ranks. What are the odds on that? Paddy Power is pretty sure it won’t happen giving Kim a chance of 88.9% of picking up those EU votes.

Lets get political about this and see who is where in the EU:

Country holding the ED seat Votes Government political stripes Economic position Notes
Germany 4.83 Centre-right coalition In the euro Wants the US to put money in the IMF
France 4.32 Centre-right In the euro Needs to pay the US back for Lagarde at the IMF
UK 4.32 Centre-right coalition Outside the euro UK loves its “special relationship” with the US
Austria 4.64 Grand coaltiion In the euro Wants the US to put money in the IMF
Netherlands 4.28 Right-wing coalition In the euro Wants the US to put money in the IMF
Sweden 3.49 Centre-right coalition Outside the euro Nordic-Baltic group considers itself “progressive”
Italy 3.31 Unelected bureaucrats In the euro Technocrats like Ngozi?

11 thoughts on “Voting arithmetic examined

  1. You have kept on refusing to post my comments about the World Bank’s compliance on the capital markets, and as a result your numbers are all wrong.
    The World Bank president side-lined the Board, in violation of the World Bank’s Articles of Agreement. This is why the Gentlemen’s Agreement for the US to appoint the president of the World Bank fell by the wayside in 2010. Robert Zoellick also made the mistake of doing the same thing to US Congress. So what?
    The IMF, which shares the same Board of Governors as the World Bank, will not have access to the capital markets until this problem is fixed. And the World Bank will not get its capital increase. Redo the numbers, this time with this salient information. You will get the same result as the stakeholder analysis in 2004, which predicted an end to the Gentlemen’s Agreement for the US to appoint the president of the World Bank. I dare you to post this comment. You better believe that I will when the day is done.

  2. I do not get it, are you making a case for why the merits of the individual candidates should not matter?

    For me the decision has to be analyzed in terms of which candidate is perceived as the most adequate candidate, as an individual, by each one of the 25 individual Executive Directors.

    It is precisely this sort of analysis that lends, albeit clearly doubtful, some type of “legitimacy” to status quo.

    • No not at all. I have stated clearly many times that merit is what shuold be the basis of the decision. However (1) we can guess that it won’t be for some EDs, so these numbers give a realistic assessment of what might happen today; and (2) merit is judged differently by different people – which explains why I have allocated some votes already based on public statements.

      I would dearly love the Europeans to truly see the merits of Ocampo and/or Okonjo-Iweala, but I am sadly doubtful that our governments will do that when it comes to a decision at the political level. But we should clearly hold them to account for their failures.

  3. I think you can put all the Europeans and Switzerland in the Kim total. The “progressive” Nordics like Barack Obama more than they’d like President Romney, and he has a Nobel on his mantle. And the Italian government has been in the lead on health-related GPGs, and also wants a big enough IMF. That’s well more than 50%. Add KSA. China and India will vote their own interests, since their BRICS interests don’t extend that far. China already has what it needs from ‘voice’. I also do not see Latin America as monolithic; Mexico holds the other chair from Brazil. Even Brazil may see Ocampo as a losing bet behind closed doors.

    The real question is how a board that reaches ‘consensus’ will convey that and unite around its choice, given some candidates’ remarks that it’s not ‘merit-based’ if they don’t win.

  4. What is the Mission of the World Bank? This should form the basis of the decision of the EDs as they cast their votes for the candidates. Which of the candidates has more experience and a better credential to deliver the mission of the WB?

    Regional politics are just driven by sentiments that would break rather than make a unified world economy, no wonder we are having coalitions like the BRICS today and who knows how many more are in the offing?

    There is an African Adage that says “the rumblings of hungry poor man’s tummy in a rich neighborhood will not allow the rich neighbors have peace at night”

    There is an urgent need to unify the world economy and no other body can fast achieve that than the WB led by an eceonomic technocrat.

  5. Brazil never nominated Ocampo. He was put forward by the Dominican Republic, which shares a board chair with Brazil and other 7 countries. Brazil currently heads the group and has the ED, who nominated Ocampo for the DR.

  6. Sentiments should not be basis for choosing the new WB President, rather qualification and experience should be. If we ignore reality, we risk coming back after some years to savour at what should have been.

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