Candidate for IMF top job begins 'charm offensive'

France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde arrives at a press conference in Paris on May 25, 2011, to announce her candidacy to head the IMF.

JEREMY HOBSON: There's some old-school politicking going on in Brazil today. The French Finance Minister, Christine Lagardem, is there -- putting on the charm -- trying to win support for her bid to head the IMF.

She's running to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and her biggest flaw -- appears to be that she's not from the developing world. The BBC's Ashleigh Nghiem has more from Singapore.


ASHLEIGH NGHIEM: France's elegant, no-nonsense and straight talking finance minister already has the backing of European leaders. But she'll struggle to secure the IMF's top job without the support of some of the world's rising economic players.

That's why she's on a crucial tour of Brazil, China and India.

Charles Adams is Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He says emerging economies want to stop the practice of guaranteeing that the IMF chair goes to a European.

CHARLES ADAMS: She has to try and convince these countries that this is not business as usual and these countries have indicated that they would like to move away from having this as a reserve position. At the same time she has to address some of the concerns being expressed.

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already said he wants a better balanced world order when it comes to the top jobs at global institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the U.N. Security Council.

But despite the concerns, Asia has yet to nominate its own candidate and they've got less than two weeks to come up with a name.

In Singapore, I'm the BBC's Ashleigh Nghiem for Marketplace.

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