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Tsakalotos among candidates to replace Lagarde at IMF

A leftist economist in the chair of the International Monetary Fund that surpresses and rains the poor and imposes strict austerity measures? Former SYRIZA finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos is listed among the candidates to replace Christine Lagarde as Managing Director at the International Monetary Fund.

As Lagarde is to leave the Fund in a few months, the IMF will soon start the process of choosing a new managing director, a post that traditionally is given to a European.

According to US broadcaster CNBC, there are already a couple of names floating around, which include:

  • Mark Carney, the current governor of the Bank of England — a Canadian citizen who also has Irish and English passports.
  • Kristalina Georgieva, from Bulgaria, who is currently serving as chief executive of the World Bank.
  • Jeroen Dijsselbloem, former Dutch finance minister and president of the Eurogroup (which brings together the 19-euro zone finance ministers).
  • Mario Draghi, the outgoing president of the European Central Bank (ECB) and an Italian national.
  • Benoit Coeure, currently a member of the ECB executive board, but whose mandate ends in December.
  • Wolfgang Schaeuble, former finance minister of Germany and currently speaker of the German parliament.
  • Euclid Tsakalotos, former Greek finance minister who implemented the country’s third bailout program.

EU ministers have made it clear they want to see someone from their continent take the job — which will be a five-year term — and continue the tradition of having a European at the helm of the Washington-based institution. Since the IMF’s formation back in 1945, the managing director has always been from Europe.

If the appointment of Lagarde goes ahead, she will take over the ECB on November 1. This gives the IMF a couple of months to nominate its next chief.

The IMF’s Executive Board is responsible for selecting the managing director. This board is composed of 24 permanent individuals, who are elected by individual member countries, or by groups of countries. However, since 2011, IMF governors — representatives from the different member countries of the IMF, which are usually finance ministers or central bank governors — can also submit names of potential candidates.

Once the Executive Board draws up a shortlist of three candidates, these people are interviewed and then the 24 individuals consider the pros and cons of each nominee — until they agree on one name by a majority of the votes.

According to the IMF, the managing director needs to have a strong record in economic policymaking at “senior levels.” They also need managerial, communication and diplomatic skills and the person should be from an IMF member country. [CNBC]

Taking a look at the CNBC list, one can immediately exclude 3 candidates: Carney due to Brexit, Dijsselbloem due to lacking skills and Schaeuble due to age.

How about Tsakalotos? The 59-year-oldeconomics professor has studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, completed a master’s degree at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, and a doctorate in economics.

From 1989 to 1993, Tsakalotos worked at the University of Kent. He moved to Greece, and taught at the Athens University of Economics and Business from 1994 to 2010, becoming a professor of economics. Since 2010, he has been a professor of economics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He has written a number of books in both Greek and English and has been published in a range of different academic journals.

He served as Alternate Foreign Minister for International Economic Relations (January – July 2015) and Finance Minister of Greece (July 2015 -July 2019) in two SYRIZA governments.

He joined the [Eurocommunists] Communist party of Greece as a student in Oxforc and remained loyal to all party developments from Synaspismos to SYRIZA.

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