Christine Lagarde has launched her campaign for a second term as managing director of the IMF, with no obvious challengers. But will a long-running business scandal stand in her way? Kirsty Basset reports.
The global economy is as volatile as ever. But that's not stopping Christine Lagarde from throwing her hat in the ring for a second term as managing director of the IMF. She already has the backing of France, Britain, Germany, China and Korea. Which may deter anyone else from applying for the top job. Panmure Gordon's Simon French. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "She inherited an IMF that was in a bit of crisis after Dominic Strauss-Kahn's departure. She steadied the ship. She has also played a very, very clever game regarding brokering alliances." But her role over the 2008 payment of some 400 million euros to businessman Bernard Tapie continues to hang over her. Last month a French judge ordered her to face trial for negligence - but Lagarde says she'll appeal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "Well it's a worry isn't it. But there is an ability for politicians, particularly with a French background to navigate public office while also dealing with challenges at home. I haven't seen anything yet that suggests this is something that is going to derail her time with the IMF." If she is returned to the top job, there'll be plenty of other challenges. Not least weak global growth and the Greek debt crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "I see less of the risk for the legal challenges going on in France, much more the role of the IMF almost facing off to the European Union and the ECB in the next stage of the Greek debt crisis." French candidates have held the top job at the IMF for almost 40 of the last 70 years.