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French IMF Candidate 'Very Satisfied' After Beijing Talks


French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde gestures during a press conference at the French Embassy in Beijing, June 9, 2011.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde gestures during a press conference at the French Embassy in Beijing, June 9, 2011.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde says she is "very satisfied" after two days of talks with Chinese leaders about her bid to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Lagarde spoke to reporters in Beijing Thursday following meetings with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan, and other senior officials. She said the sides had agreed that the selection process should be open, transparent and based on merit.

Chinese state media quoted Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi saying after a meeting with Lagarde on Wednesday that she has explained the purpose of her candidacy and that there is "an open field" for the job.

Lagarde is considered the frontrunner to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned after being charged with attempted rape in New York City. Her challenger for the post is Mexican Central Bank Chief Agustin Carstens, who is due to visit China, the United States, and India soon.

Lagarde visited New Delhi earlier, but failed to win public endorsement of her candidacy, prompting speculation that India may still be waiting to see if a regional candidate emerges.

Traditionally, the World Bank has been headed by an American and the IMF by a European. But many in Asia say the tradition should end in recognition of the region's rising economic might.

China's voting share in the IMF was increased last year to 6.19 percent from the previous 3.65 percent in recognition of its role as the world's second largest economy. The French news agency AFP quoted Lagarde on Thursday saying China's share should be boosted to 6.4 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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