May 27, 2011 / 1:50 AM / 9 years ago

Exclusive: LatAm deserves to run IMF, says IADB president

LUQUE, Paraguay (Reuters) - Latin America deserves to provide the International Monetary Fund with its next chief, Luis Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, said on Thursday, pushing Mexico’s bid to head the IMF.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (R), Mexico's Finance Minister Augustin Carstens (C) and World Bank President Robert Zoellick hold a closing news conference of the spring IMF-World Bank meeting at the IMF headquarters in Washington April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Mexico and other nations have said the selection process should be based on merit and not nationality and Moreno said Mexico’s central bank chief, Agustin Carstens, has all the credentials to run the IMF.

“I have no doubt that Latin America deserves it,” Moreno told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference organized by the IADB in Paraguay. “And I have no doubt that ... Agustin Carstens meets all the credentials,” he said.

The post of IMF managing director is open since Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, arrested on May 14 on charges of attempting to rape a New York hotel maid, quit. He denies the charges and has vowed to fight to clear his name.

Although French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is the front-runner in the race and France has said she has China’s support, Mexico nominated Carstens on Monday to run the IMF.

Carstens, who was a deputy managing director at the IMF for three years before becoming Mexico’s finance minister in 2006, has said that his bid to become the first non-European to head the Fund has been well received.

Europe has monopolized the post since the IMF’s birth at the end of World War II.

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.

“We have to understand that developing nations did not create the (global economic) crisis,” Moreno said vouching for Carstens based on his experience at the IMF and his management of past regional economic crises.

“I hope the voice that says that this (race) must be an open, transparent and competitive process is heard loud and clear,” he said.

Nominations can be lodged until June 10 and the decision is due by the end of the month.

Writing by Luis Andres Henao, editing by Bernard Orr

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