Lagarde tipped as frontrunner for IMF top job

FRENCH economics minister Christine Lagarde is the frontrunner to take over the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Chancellor George Osborne said over the weekend he will formally nominate her for the position, which became vacant after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned so he could fight sexual assault charges.

Osborne said Lagarde was “the outstanding candidate” who had shown “real international leadership as chair of the G20 finance ministers this year”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her an experienced “figure of excellent standing” and French interior Minister Claude Gueant, former chief of staff to President Nicolas Sarkozy, said Lagarde would make an excellent head of the Washington-based lender.

However Mexico’s finance ministry said it would nominate central bank chief Agustin Carstens, placing a prominent emerging market name into the race to lead the global lender.

And the finance ministers of South Africa and Australia were also lukewarm about Lagarde’s candidacy, calling for candidates to be selected on ability rather than nationality.