Infighting to succeed Lagarde hits French government after IMF appointment
Christine Lagarde's appointment as director-general of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened up a battle to succeed her as France’s finance minister. President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon had hoped to name a successor straight away but were unable to do so because of bitter competition for the job, according to l’Express magazine.
Lagarde, who will be the first woman ever to run the IMF when she takes over on 5 July, was due to attend Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, where her successor was expected to be named.
Sarkozy and Fillon had hoped to announce a decision on Tuesday after her new job was announced,l’Express reports. 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.
Higher Education Valérie Pécresse was also reported to be in the running.
After her appointment, Lagarde declared that she would like to meet Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as IMF chief after being accused of sexual assault in New York, “because a successor should speak to her predecessor”.
She 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.
Most, but not all, reactions to Lagarde's appointment have been positive: