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Kazakh banker withdraws bid to head IMF

From John Defterios, CNN
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Marchenko pulls out of IMF race
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Grigory Marchenko tells CNN he is withdrawing his bid to head the IMF
  • Marchenko is the head of Kazakhstan's central bank
  • Marchenko says it is clear the job will go to French Financial Minister Christine Lagarde
  • If chosen, Lagarde will follow Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is facing sexual assault charges in New York

London (CNN) -- The head of Kazakhstan's central bank, told CNN Friday he is withdrawing his bid to head the International Monetary Fund.

Grigory Marchenko said it is "more or less obvious" that the job will go to French Financial Minister Christine Lagarde.

The post of IMF chief has historically been reserved for a Western European candidate. Representatives of various developing countries have been trying to break that tradition in the wake of the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is facing charges related to the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York.

Marchenko said that attempts to unify around a single alternative to Lagarde had failed, and it was therefore "better to withdraw and not to put some of the countries into embarrassing positions."

Who's next to lead the IMF?

Lagarde is "a very good candidate, no doubt about that," Marchenko said. Marchenko noted that he has no interest in pursuing the number two job at the IMF.

Lagarde, 55, would be the first woman to run the IMF since the global financial institution was founded in 1945.

The fund is aiming to complete its selection process for Strauss-Kahn's successor by June 30.