The king is dead; long live the queen. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French erstwhile managing director of the International Monetary Fund, had not even resigned before Europeans started to coalesce around Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, as his successor. Gone are past promises of an open selection. The Europeans insist on the principle that what we have we hold. The ancien régime survives.
Mme Lagarde is a perfectly respectable candidate. She is French, almost a requirement, it often seems, for the European head of an international institution. She is a woman, surely an advantage, not least when her predecessor is facing charges of attempted rape. She was chairman of Baker & McKenzie, a famous US law firm and she speaks English fluently. She is an extremely likeable and impressive person. But she is not a perfect candidate: her economics are limited. If she were to become head of the organisation she would have to rely on the advice of those around her. If she were to get the job, it would be essential for whoever replaces John Lipsky, the American first deputy managing director, who is due to depart in August, to be a first-rate economist.
Abstract only, to read Martin Wolf’s full Op-Ed go to: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/28de825a-8640-11e0-9e2c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1NMsi4OTj