ECB's Makuch urges Mersch appointment, snubs gender debate

BRATISLAVA Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:27am EDT

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Luxembourg's Yves Mersch should be appointed to the European Central Bank's board despite a European parliament veto of his candidacy over his gender, ECB Governing Council member Jozef Makuch said on Wednesday.

In a plenary vote last Thursday, parliament rejected Mersch's candidacy by 325 votes to 300, saying insufficient effort had been made to find suitable women candidates for the post. Forty-nine lawmakers abstained.

Makuch said the vote violated "the principle of equal treatment".

In January last year, Slovakia proposed Elena Kohutikova, a former vice-governor of its national central bank, to replace Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell on the six-member executive board. But that seat went to Belgium's Peter Praet.

"Three members were appointed to the ECB's executive board since the candidacy of Slovakia's female representative, and the European parliament... voted in favor of (them) ... despite none of them being a woman," said Makuch.

His job as Slovakia's central bank chief gives him a seat on the ECB's governing council, which comprises the board plus the heads of all 17 national central banks in the euro zone.

Benoit Coeure and Jorg Asmussen joined the board in January.

European Union leaders have the power to override the parliament's objections to Mersch's appointment.

(Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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