May 23, 2011 / 5:02 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil shies away from endorsing Carstens for IMF

3 Min Read

* Brazil's Mantega says more time needed to gauge options

* Source says Carstens seen as too orthodox by Brazilians

* Carstens was nominated by Mexico amid succession saga (Recasts, adds comment, details, context throughout)

By Isabel Versiani

BRASILIA, May 23 (Reuters) - Brazil declined on Monday to throw its weight behind Mexico's candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, opting instead to ask for more time to evaluate all candidates for the post.

Speaking to reporters, Finance Minister Guido Mantega dodged questions about whether Brazil would endorse Mexican central bank Governor Agustin Carstens to lead the Washington-based IMF, saying that the nationality of the Fund's next managing director does not matter.

"What matters here is having a good candidate, not nationality," Mantega said, adding that Brazil will suggest that whoever succeeds Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Fund should only serve out the remainder of his term.

The Fund has already said that Strauss-Kahn's successor will serve a five-year term.

Brazilian officials are reluctant to endorse Carstens for the IMF post. In part, they do not want to back what they see as a long shot, but they also are concerned he is too orthodox, a government source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Carstens was a deputy head of the IMF at the start of the last decade, a time when the Fund imposed tough conditions on an emergency credit line for Brazil.

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For a profile of Agustin Carstens: [ID:nN31220972]

For more stories on the IMF successor debate: [ID:nDSK]

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Brazil, which has praised Strauss-Kahn for pushing to give emerging market nations greater say in global economic affairs, wants his successor to continue to campaign for IMF reform to reflect the changing global economy, Mantega said.

Carstens was a deputy managing director at the IMF for three years before joining Mexican President Felipe Calderon's administration as finance minister in 2006. He became central bank governor in January 2010.

The Mexican government formally launched Carstens' candidacy on Sunday, saying the University of Chicago-trained economist "has the abilities and qualifications needed to lead an institution of the relevance of" the IMF. [ID:nN01504838]

The IMF has been run by a European ever since its inception at the end of World War Two, but Strauss-Kahn's arrest on sexual assault charges has sparked a debate over that tradition. Officials in some emerging market countries have said it was time for someone from the developing world to lead the global lender.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is seen as the current front-runner to succeed Strauss-Kahn at the IMF. Britain endorsed Lagarde on Saturday, becoming the first G7 country to officially back her. (Writing and additional reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal in Sao Paulo; Editing by Todd Benson and Dan Grebler)

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