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IMF will choose new leader on merit

WASHINGTON, May 19 – World Bank head Robert Zoellick said Thursday he was certain that the IMF would choose a new leader based on merit rather than politics after the resignation of managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Asked whether the process to replace Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested in New York for sexual assault, would be based on individual qualifications, Zoellick replied "I\’m sure it will."

"There\’s a process that the (IMF member) countries will use … and you can see it\’s starting to take form now," he said.

"I\’m sure they\’ll pick a fine person."

Strauss-Kahn\’s resignation announced at midnight Wednesday, four days after he was arrested for attacking a hotel chambermaid, set off a global debate over the tradition of naming a European to run the crucial global financial stabilizer, to play opposite the American-led World Bank, the IMF\’s sister institution.

While European leaders are lobbying again for one of their own to head the IMF – French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is the front-runner – officials from China, Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere have called for a more open process and a replacement from a more newly-developed economy.

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