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Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 22:27 GMT
IMF fails to agree new boss
IMF headquarters
The IMF is currently without a leader
The International Monetary Fund has failed to reach agreement as to who the new boss will be.

But in an informal vote held on Thursday, support was strongest for Germany's candidate, Mr Caio Koch-Weser.

Mr Koch-Weser's nomination has attracted controversy, as many feel he is not a strong enough candidate for the job, one traditionally held by a European.

The IMF is to continue consultations to find a new managing director to replace Michel Camdessus, it said.

It has not set a date for a formal vote.

No overall majority

The IMF said there was no overall majority for any one candidate.

The fund said that 36% of the 24-member board abstained from the informal vote.

It declined to say what percentage of the vote the three candidates got.

Other candidates were its interim head Stanley Fischer - who got the second-largest number of votes - and Japanese finance minister Eisuke Sakakibara.

Caio Koch-Weser
Caio Koch-Weser: Experience questioned
Prodi doubts

Traditionally, the position is held by a European, but the US has already said it will not support Mr Koch-Weser.

Earlier on Thursday, European Commission President Romano Prodi indicated he doubts that Mr Koch-Weser will be the next head of the Fund.

In an interview in Friday's German edition of The Financial Times, Mr Prodi said: "It's clear that nobody can be named against the wishes of the United States any more than they could against that of the Europeans."

So far Germany is standing by its candidate.

"He's an excellent candidate, no-one can dispute that," said policy adviser Michael Steiner in a television interview earlier on Thursday.

Clinton wants a European

President Bill Clinton has said he is "committed to having a European head of the IMF. And it would suit me if the person was from Germany. I'd like to see Germany play a bigger role in all these international institutions."

The problem for the US administration is that it does not believe Mr Koch-Weser is a strong enough candidate for the job.

Mr Koch-Weser's name was put forward after weeks of wrangling among EU countries over who would succeed Michel Camdessus as IMF managing director.

His candidacy has been problematic.

Both London and Paris are said to have been reluctant to endorse him, while US government officials have been accused of conducting a "whispering campaign" against him.

There have been suggestions that he lacked the political clout needed for the job. He joined the German government less than a year ago, after working as a World Bank economist for the previous 26 years.

Mr Koch-Weser, whose parents fled Nazi Germany in 1933, is a specialist on aid for developing countries and speaks four languages fluently.

The IMF, established after World War II, has had seven managing directors, three from France - among them Mr Camdessus, who held the post for 13 years - two from Sweden and one from Belgium and the Netherlands.

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See also:

28 Feb 00 |  Business
Profile: Caio Koch-Weser
14 Feb 00 |  Business
Camdessus and the IMF's new creed
29 Sep 98 |  Business Basics
The IMF and World Bank
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