August 22, 2018 / 10:05 AM / 2 months ago

Ex-econ minister to become president of Austrian central bank

VIENNA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Former economy minister Harald Mahrer will be appointed the next president of Austria’s central bank, Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger said on Wednesday.

Mahrer, a 45-year-old conservative, will take over from Claus Raidl at the end of this month.

The president runs the General Council that supervises the Austrian National Bank and advises its Governing Board. The job is considered far less influential than the governorship, a position that includes a seat on the European Central Bank’s governing council.

The government will decide soon on a successor to Governor Ewald Nowotny, Loeger told journalists in Vienna. Nowotny’s term ends in August of next year.

Top jobs at the Austrian central bank historically are split between government coalition parties, so a candidate from Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s junior coalition partner, the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), is likely to succeed Nowotny.

Robert Holzmann, a 69-year-old former director at the World Bank and university lecturer, will probably get the job, local media reported on Wednesday, citing government sources. He is not affiliated with a party, but he has been proposed for the job by the far right.

FPO minister Norbert Hofer, who also coordinates the FPO’s government work in partnership with the conservatives, told journalists that there was a “certain likelihood” that Holzmann will get the job. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Larry King)

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