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Weber says principles trump top ECB post

FRANKFURT, Oct 26 – German central bank governor Axel Weber vowed late Monday to remain true to his principles even if it meant he was not chosen as the next head of the European Central Bank.

"I have been an outspoken stability-oriented politician over the past three decades, and I am not going to change this," Weber told an event in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany.

"If that\’s going to have implications for my future career, then I\’d be happy to live with those consequences," Dow Jones Newswires quoted him as adding.

Weber and Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi have been tipped as leading candidates to take over at the ECB when Jean-Claude Trichet steps down in October 2011.

But Weber openly criticized the ECB decision to begin buying eurozone government debt in May, and stressed early this month it was time to phase out the controversial measure.

French press reports have said Paris might not back Weber to become the next ECB president owing to staunchly defended positions that include a focus on fiscal discipline and constant attention to inflationary pressures.

But Weber, a former academic who has made his mark as head of Germany\’s Bundesbank did not seem too worried about the flap.

"It is important that I have done a good job … I am not going to start looking towards the next," he said.

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