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The choice of the IMF’s next boss could be a coronation

FOR THE purposes of decision-making, the IMF’s 189 member countries are divided into 24 constituencies of peculiar shapes and sizes. Ghana, for example, belongs to the same group as Afghanistan. Ecuador sits with East Timor. But in choosing the next boss after Christine Lagarde moves to the European Central Bank in October, the most decisive constituency may be a different group entirely: the “New Hanseatic League”. This includes eight small, northern members of the European Union (EU) with bad weather and good credit ratings. They lost out in the fight for big EU jobs earlier this month. In compensation they may have a large say in Europe’s pick to lead the fund.That could be good news for Mark Carney, the charismatic and credentialled boss of the Bank of England. As well as Canadian and British citizenship, he holds a passport from Ireland, one of the new Hanseatics. If Ireland champions his cause in the league, and the league backs him within the union, he would be hard to resist within the fund. By convention the IMF is led by whichever European candidate the Americans can live with. And the Americans are unlikely to object to him, especially after the Europeans dutifully supported Washington’s choice to run the World Bank earlier this year.
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