Candidates for World Bank president must debate each other publicly

Published: 30th March 2012

With interviews to select a new president of the World Bank starting soon [April 9-11], a global coalition of campaigners have called on the World Bank's executive directors to ensure that as part of the selection process, the three candidates debate each other publicly.

The campaigners - Eurodad, the Bretton Woods Project and Oxfam - urged the World Bank to break with past practice and select the best candidate, backed the wider Bank membership, not just the United States.

Jesse Griffiths, director of Eurodad said: "Without public interviews and debates, it will be impossible to ascertain whether a genuine merit-based decision has taken place, or whether convention and US power have ruled the day. If the board selects the US candidate in a closed-door process, it will seriously undermine the legitimacy of the new president."

Oxfam spokesperson Elizabeth Stuart said: “It’s no longer tenable for the US to anoint the World Bank’s leader behind closed doors. The Bank will undermine its legitimacy if this interview process is a charade with a pre-determined outcome. A truly fair selection will boost the Bank’s legitimacy and relevance. The three candidates should debate each other publicly, so that when the selection is made, the world knows why.”

Peter Chowla, coordinator of the Bretton Woods Project said: "The World Bank’s policies and projects have the potential to improve or destroy the livelihoods of people in developing countries, which makes it unacceptable that unaccountable officials conduct this process behind closed doors. With unprecedented competition for the job, the public needs to have a chance to question the candidates."

Contact information

Caroline Hooper-Box : / Mobile: +1 202 321 2967