Recently, Mr. Fischer formally announced his candidacy to lead the International Monetary Fund. While the selection process is a political one, Mr. Fischer has received support from Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who said:
“Were it purely professional it would be hard-pressed to find a better person than Fischer.”
Salam Fayyad disputed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister supported Mr. Fischer, saying the Israeli would make a ”great managing director” for the IMF and is:
“A superb human being…He is supremely qualified for the job. Indeed, it’s difficult to see how one can be more qualified…”
On a side note, Hamas has refused to recognize Fayyad, a political independent, as Prime Minister. Fayyad received his PhD in economics from the University of Texas, as well as working for the IMF in the 1980s; so he is a good man to ask.
As mentioned, the recently announced “reconciliation” between the government in the West Bank, led by Fatah and the terrorist group Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip is threatening Fayyad’s political status.
But Monday night Fischer was notified that his candidacy was disqualified because of his age, 67. IMF rules state the Managing Director must be under 65 when taking office for the five-year position. Fischer was hoping the IMF board would waive the restriction, saying it is “not relevant today.”
Fischer is in the second year of his second five-year term as the chariman of Israel’s bank. He was hoping to take over at the IMF for Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France, who resigned on May 14 after his arrest on charges of attempted rape of a maid in a New York hotel.
Fischer had this to say:
“I will proudly and happily continue in my role as Governor of the Bank of Israel, to deal with the challenges facing the Bank of Israel and the Israeli economy. I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance for their unconditional support when I decided to submit my candidacy, and for their expressed hope that I will continue to serve as the Governor of the Bank of Israel – as I shall happily do…”
The finance minister of France, Christine Lagarde, is considered to be the front-runner in the IMF race. The final decision will be made toward the end of the month.
Fischer was the thesis adviser to Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, when he was pursuing his doctorate in economics from MIT and is a former deputy managing director of the IMF.