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Egypt Backs Lagarde's Bid for IMF Chief

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (File)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi has announced his country's support of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde's bid to lead the International Monetary Fund.

Arabi made the announcement Sunday in Cairo following meetings with Lagarde, who is in Egypt as part of a visit to the region to shore up support for her candidacy.

The post became vacant in May after former chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned to fight sexual assault charges in New York.

Lagarde is widely expected to become the next IMF head. The position traditionally has gone to a European, but the Strauss-Kahn resignation has brought calls for the next chief to be from a non-EU country.

Other strong candidates include Mexican Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who announced his bid on Saturday.

The 24-member IMF board, of which Egypt is a part, is expected to announce the candidates for its top post by June 17. The final selection will be made by June 30.