The Multilateralist

Brazil would like a non-European IMF chief, but won’t fight for it

This quote from a senior Brazilian official, via Reuters, does not give the impression of a coordinated push by the emerging economies to secure the leadership of the IMF: "We think it would be appropriate to have someone from emerging countries," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We believe India and Brazil would ...

This quote from a senior Brazilian official, via Reuters, does not give the impression of a coordinated push by the emerging economies to secure the leadership of the IMF:

"We think it would be appropriate to have someone from emerging countries," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We believe India and Brazil would be good options. But we also believe that Europe is likely to keep its deep stranglehold on the position, and so we're not planning to push very hard on this issue for now," the official added.

This quote from a senior Brazilian official, via Reuters, does not give the impression of a coordinated push by the emerging economies to secure the leadership of the IMF:

"We think it would be appropriate to have someone from emerging countries," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We believe India and Brazil would be good options. But we also believe that Europe is likely to keep its deep stranglehold on the position, and so we’re not planning to push very hard on this issue for now," the official added.

It’s likely not a coincidence that none of the names bandied about as emerging-economy candidates is Brazilian. And that in turn points to a major impediment for the emerging powers in trying to take the reins of key international institutions: the ability to cooperate effectively.  To achieve a blocking minority on the IMF board (15 percent), the BRICS would need to not only agree amongst themselves but also coordinate with several other major countries or develop a broad coalition of smaller states. All this takes time and diplomatic effort. The United States, by contrast, has more than 15 percent voting share on its own. The major European powers do not reach that threshold individually, but they do together and they’re much more accustomed to and practiced at coordinating their policy at the IMF. The chances that Europe will retain the IMF post are high. 

David Bosco is an associate professor at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of books on the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court, and is at work on a new book about governance of the oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist
Tags: EU, IMF

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