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Field narrows in race for IMF job

France's Christine Lagarde and Mexico's Agustin Carstens are the two remaining candidates to be the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Israel's central banker, a former number two at the IMF, said he has been disqualified from the race for the group's top job because of his age.

At 67, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is two years above the age limit of 65 that the IMF has set for an incoming managing director.

In a statement, Mr Fischer expressed regret that the IMF board decided not to change its rules to allow him to run.

He said his experience had made him a natural candidate to head the IMF at a time of ongoing challenges for the global economy. He called the age limit "irrelevant today".

"The governor is convinced that the age issue is a technical one and a negligible detail compared with the need to choose the most suitable candidate to lead the fund at the present time," the statement said.

Mr Fischer's candidacy had been considered a long shot, primarily because the fund historically has been led by a European.

In a statement from Washington, the IMF said it would consider two candidates - front-runner Ms Lagarde, the French finance minister, and Mr Carstens, Mexico's central bank chief.

The IMF's last chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned last month after his arrest on sexual assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

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