Monetary fund candidate seeks backing in Brazil

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde was in Brazil Monday to solicit support from emerging economies for her bid to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund.

With solid backing for her candidacy from Europe, Minister Lagarde is off to conquer a more skeptical audience — emerging countries who have been calling for the next head of the International Monetary Fund to be one of their own.

Ms. Lagarde’s first stop is Brazil. But in an interview Sunday with France’s Europe 1 radio, she outlined plans to also visit China, India and several African nations.

Ms. Lagarde said she was visiting these emerging countries because they have expressed anxiety and frustration over having their interests recognized at the highest levels of multilateral organizations, and about the fact the monetary fund directorship has traditionally gone to a European.

But the only declared emerging country candidate to date is Mexico’s central bank governor Agustin Carstens, who visits Brazil Wednesday.

Europeans argue a fellow national at the head of the monetary fund right now is critical, as the 17-nation eurozone struggles to cope with the financial problems in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Ireland.

If picked, Ms. Lagarde would replace another Frenchman, Dominique Strauss Kahn, who resigned earlier this month over charges of sexual assault.

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