Poor nations must have a say in succession rules, says Camdessus

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at bom4.vsnl.net.in
Sat Apr 1 17:40:02 PST 2000

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Poor nations must have a say in succession rules, says Camdessus REUTERS

NEW ORLEANS, MARCH 27: Old ways to find heads of international institutions do not work in today's world, and new methods must be found to let poor countries have a say, the former head of the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday. In his first detailed comments on the bruising selection procedure that last week handed the job of IMF managing director to Germany's Horst Koehler, Michel Camdessus said the old rule dividing the top jobs at the IMF and the World Bank between Europe and the United States were no longer justified. "We have to think about the way in which Europe and the United States still see themselves as the owners of these two institutions," Camdessus told reporters after a speech at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank. "This was justified in 1950, when the rest of the world was not there except for a few countries from Latin America. Now the emerging countries are there, now the poorest countries must have their say. This process does not give them enough of a say, and this must be addressed." Camdessus, a Frenchman, left the IMF last month after almost 13 years as its managing director, and European ministers argued repeatedly during a four-month battle to find his successor that they had a right to the job, which has gone to a European throughout the IMF's 55 years of existence. The United States declined to rock that diplomatic boat, although it refused bluntly to back Europe's first candidate, German Finance Ministry official Caio Koch-Weser, telling the Europeans to look for somebody else. Germany, determined to win a top-rank international job forthe first time, responded by nominating Koehler, a former deputy finance minister who now heads eastern Europe's development bank. "(Koehler) is an excellent man. I know him well," said Camdessus. "I worked with him when he was a vice Minister in Germany, busy with unification. We worked together when we started organising our institutions together to help the countries of eastern Europe." But Camdessus said the system of choosing a new boss for the IMF was not transparent enough. "I share the frustration expressed by Caio Koch-Weser at a system which is a kind of 'jeu de massacre' (carnival ball toss) where whatever candidate goes out exposes himself to be killed by the media before he is in a position to explain who he is. The process does not have the transparency it requires." Other countries have also expressed concern at the selection process at the fund, which channels billions of dollars in loans each year to troubled economies around the world. Japan, giving notice that it wanted a larger diplomatic role for itself and other Asian countries, nominated former Finance Ministry official Eisuke Sakakibara to replace Camdessus but withdrew his name after Europe rallied behind Koehler. Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. All rights reserved feedback at financialexpress.com

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