Mexico's Carstens: Some countries warm to him on IMF

MEXICO CITY Tue May 24, 2011 12:19pm EDT

Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens attends a news conference in Mexico City May 23, 2011. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens attends a news conference in Mexico City May 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens said on Tuesday some countries have expressed sympathy for his bid to run the International Monetary Fund.

"Most countries are waiting to see who are the candidates," Carstens told Bloomberg TV.

"I have heard expressions of sympathy, but most countries in a responsible way are waiting to see who the candidates are," he said.

Mexico nominated Carstens on Monday to run the IMF but French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde appeared to be solidifying her position as the frontrunner in the race. France said on Tuesday she won China's support.

Carstens said he had "some conversations" with officials in the United States on his candidacy. He would need U.S. support to win the job.

Mexico and other countries have said the selection process should be based on merit and not nationality. Nominations can be lodged until June 10; a decision is due by the end of the month.

Europe has monopolized the post since the IMF's inception at the end of World War Two.

But the importance of emerging markets in the global economic recovery has helped these countries challenge a six-decade "gentleman's agreement" between Europe and the United States, on who can run the IMF and World Bank.

Carstens, who was a deputy managing director at the IMF for three years before becoming Mexico's finance minister in 2006, said he felt qualified for the position.

He criticized the oft-expressed view in Europe that a European would best understand the region's sovereign debt crisis.

"I don't see why, for the fund ... to contribute to solving the crisis in Europe, a European has to be the managing director," he said.

"Right now the crisis is in Europe, but we don't know where the next crisis will be. We need a managing director who is there for all the membership and who has the capacity to contribute to the resolution of issues in all parts."

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Krista Hughes; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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