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July 30, 2021
BUSINESS

French Finance minister, new IMF chief

Christine Lagarde, who will be the first woman ever to run the IMF called on Greece’s right-wing opposition to back the Socialist Party government in voting in the latest austerity package.

Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, will succeed one of her countrymen in the post. Her role at the heart of the eurozone debt crisis was probably crucial in securing the position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Sky News reports. In other words, she understands the most serious threat to world financial stability and has the contacts book and respect to continue a leading role in tackling it.

Lagarde was a member of France’s synchronised swimming team in her youth and was a high-achieving lawyer before being appointed the country’s finance minister in 2007. She played a key role in securing a 750 billion euro EU-rescue fund during the debt market crisis in 2009. She has been a champion of eurozone solidarity, urging the likes of Germany and France to pull together to support weaker members. Lagarde was also at the heart of negotiating the restructuring of Greece’s debt.

Lagarde is likely to face further debt crises hitting other European countries and the United States during her mandate and has to deliver on promises to give more support to African countries and give emerging economies more of a role in the fund.

The French government hailed Lagarde’s election as “a victory for France” and the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said she was an “excellent choice”.

Lagarde, who will be the first woman ever to run the IMF when she takes over on 5 July, was due to attend a cabinet meeting yesterday where her successor was expected to be named. According to RFI, Nicholas Sarkozy and Francois Fillon had hoped to announce a decision today. But they could not do so because both Budget Minister and government spokesperson François Baroin and Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire had threatened to resign from the government if they did not get the top economy job, sources told the magazine l’Express. Higher Education Valérie Pécresse was also reported to be in the running.

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