Former Colombian finance
minister Jose Antonio Ocampo on Friday withdrew his candidacy for World
Bank president, leaving two candidates in a race that he said had
turned highly political.
With the World Bank board
meeting on Monday to pick a new president, Ocampo said he hoped emerging
market nations would rally behind one candidate, Nigerian Finance
Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
is now the sole candidate from developing nations in a race against
U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert who appears
almost certain to win the post.
is clear that the process is shifting from a strict merit-based
competition, in which my candidacy stood on strong grounds, into a more
political-oriented exercise,” he said in a statement.
this process, I stand on weaker grounds due to the lack of open support
from the government of my home country, Colombia,” he added.
said he did not believe the selection process had been fully open,
transparent and merit-based, but it had established a strong precedent
for future elections.
Ocampo’s decision to leave the race does not mean all developing
countries will support Okonjo-Iweala in a straw poll on Monday when the
World Bank board tries to find consensus on a successor to Robert
Zoellick, who is departing in June.
Indeed, the promise of a united front from emerging markets evaporated on Friday when Russia said it would support Kim, becoming the first major emerging economy to do so.
into account Mr. Kim’s considerable professional qualities as well as
his experience and knowledge, the Russian Federation will support the
candidacy of Jim Yong Kim during the voting by the bank’s board of
directors,” the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement.
their candidates, emerging market nations are seeking to challenge U.S.
leadership at the bank to increase their influence in global economic
institutions long controlled by rich nations.
Under a informal agreement, the World Bank has always been headed by an American and the IMF by a European.
Kim is still the favorite to win the World Bank presidency because of
his backing from the United States and European countries, a rigorous
challenge from emerging market countries could put them in a stronger
position to extract concessions favorable to their interests. It also
increases their odds of winning senior jobs in the future.
The final decision could come down to political horse-trading and alliances.
Curled from Reuters
”The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said”. ALISON.