Public debate needed for new IMF leader

Published: 10th June 2011

With nominations for the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) leader in today, civil society campaigners including ActionAid, Eurodad, and Oxfam are demanding that the candidates debate each other publicly.

The organizations are demanding that the candidates answer questions on ending Europe’s dominance of the IMF, supporting financial sector reform, curbing volatility, and how to act in the interests of the ordinary people who are most affected by IMF interventions.

Sarah Wynn-Williams of Oxfam said: “The process of nominating candidates to head the IMF has amounted to little more than a series of disappointing backroom deals. The new managing director must act to end Europe’s stranglehold on the IMF, and approve a voting system which doesn’t stack the odds against emerging markets and poor countries.”

Jesse Griffiths of the Bretton Woods Project said: "IMF policies have been disastrous for poor and vulnerable people for decades. The Fund needs radical reform, and the public needs to know whether the candidates are willing to do it."

Julian Oram of the World Development Movement said: “the people damaged by IMF policies deserve the chance to have their questions answered.”

Nuria Molina of Eurodad said: “a public debate is the minimum we would expect for powerful positions at national level. It’s time the IMF joined the twenty first century and recognized that with power comes responsibility.”

The process of nominating candidates to head the IMF has been a series of disappointing backroom deals
Sarah Wynn-Williams

Notes to editors

Questions for candidates are:

1)   Reforming the IMF

a)   Will you strongly support the introduction of double majority decision making for all decisions at the IMF, to strengthen consensus decision making and give greater voice to small and low-income countries?

b)   How exactly would you reform the appointment processes for all IMF management, particularly how would you recruit deputy managing directors so that the 2009 commitments are kept?

2)   Taming financial markets

a)   How will IMF staff under your watch work towards global rules that curb excessive private risk-taking and ensure that finance serves the real sector?

b)   How will you back the efforts of national authorities to control volatile capital flows so they can contribute to long-term sustainable and equitable growth?

3)   IMF role in developing countries

a)   Will you commission an independent external review of IMF financial programming and the distributional impacts of IMF conditions, with specific focus on unemployment, pro-poor growth, gender outcomes and inequality?

b)   Will you support excess windfall profits from the sale of gold to be used for non-debt-creating and non-conditioned assistance for low-income countries?

4)   Reform of the international financial architecture

a)   How do you plan to work with major IMF shareholders so that they see it is in their interest to move, over the medium term, to a truly global reserve currency system with more stable exchange rates?

b)   Will you support the creation of a fair and transparent arbitration process for sovereign debtors, one which is independent of all creditors, including the IMF, and not biased towards protecting only creditors’ interests?

The full briefing, Question time for candidates: Public debate needed for IMF leadership post, is available at

Contact information

Caroline Hooper-Box +1 202 321 2967