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IMF to name new chief by June 30

The International Monetary Fund will interview the two leading candidates for the top job at the world lending institution this week with the goal of naming a new chief by June 30.

The 187-nation organisation said Agustin Carstens, head of Mexico's central bank, would meet the agency's executive board on Tuesday and French finance minister Christine Lagarde would be interviewed on Wednesday.

Ms Lagarde is considered the front-runner for the position to succeed former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after he was charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid, an allegation he denies.

The IMF said its 24-member executive board would meet on June 28 to pick a new managing director with the aim of completing the process by June 30.

It said Mr Carstens and Ms Lagarde would be able to present their views on issues facing the IMF during their separate meetings with the board and their prepared statements would be posted on the IMF website following their interviews. The two candidates will also meet individually with the 24 officials who sit on the IMF board in the coming week .

Mr Carstens, who was in Washington last week, met US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who is expected to meet Ms Lagarde this week. The United States, which controls the largest number of voting shares at the IMF, has yet to endorse a candidate.

In an interview last week, Mr Carstens said that he faced an uphill battle against Ms Lagarde, who has received solid backing from European nations. But he argued that he was the more qualified candidate and that it was time to break the tradition of always having the IMF headed by a European.

The IMF's sister lending institution, the World Bank, has always been headed by an American. The two organisations were created following the Second World War.

Ms Lagarde is a lawyer by training while Mr Carstens holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago.

China, India and Brazil, three fast-growing emerging market countries, have also argued that the IMF process for choosing its leader should be more open. But none of those nations has so far come out in support of Mr Carstens.

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