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Lagarde visits India to campaign for IMF top job

India's Finance Minister said Tuesday that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund should be chosen on merit and not nationality as French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde visited New Delhi to canvas for the job.

India and other emerging nations have called for an end to the convention that requires the IMF head to be from Europe. However, they have not come together with a common candidate to head the IMF.

"I explained to her our position that we want selection of the managing director of the IMF, or that of the World Bank, to be on the basis of merit and capability in a transparent manner," Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in the Indian capital after his meeting with Ms. Lagarde.

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He said there should be a broad consensus on who heads the fund.

India would decide who to back once a final list of all the candidates for the job emerged, Mr. Mukherjee said.

Developing nations such as India, Brazil and China have been pushing for a bigger say in the running of the IMF and World Bank to reflect their growing economic clout.

So far Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens and Ms. Lagarde are the only two declared candidates to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit as IMF head on May 18 after he was accused of sexually attacking a New York hotel maid. He has denied the allegations.

The so-called BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - issued a joint statement late last month expressing support for "abandoning the obsolete unwritten practice" that requires that the head of the IMF be from Europe.

Mr. Mukherjee said that India was in discussions with other BRICS nations to come to a consensus on a suitable candidate.

The next IMF leader will be elected on June 30 by the agency's 24-member executive board, whose officials represent the 187 IMF member countries. The IMF voting system gives the votes of European countries and the U.S. more weight.

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