Olli Rehn drops out of IMF leadership race

The Governor of the Bank of Finland had hoped to lead the IMF but lacked support of big players France and Germany.

File picture of Olli Rehn, Governor of the Bank of Finland / Credit: VNK

The Governor of the Bank of Finland Olli Rehn (Centre) has dropped out of the race to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund IMF.

Rehn, Finland’s former EU Commissioner, made the announcement on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

“EU is about to vote on Europe’s candidate for IMF managing director. It is an exceptionally meaningful and motivating job. However, at this stage I withdraw my name from the ballot, so that we can achieve a broad-based consensus for the European candidate, and world-wide support.”

European Union government are supposed to choose their candidate to head up the IMF on Friday and without Rehn in the race the two contenders are Jeroen Dijsselbloem from the Netherlands, and Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria.

Other candidates from Spain and Portugal had previously withdrawn their candidacies.

Traditionally, the head of the IMF has come from Europe while America has chosen one of its own nationals to be in charge of the World Bank. Whoever is selected as the EU candidate will replace Christine Lagarde, who becomes the head of the European Central Bank from November.

EU governments however have been at loggerheads on which European country the next IMF head should come from. Dijsselbloem has the support of Germany, while Georgieva – who is currently older than IMF rules allow to head up the organisation – is supported by France.