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EU Fails to Name IMF Candidate as Process Thrown Into Confusion

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European governments failed in their effort to rally behind a candidate to run the International Monetary Fund as an official voting procedure ended in acrimony and no clear result.

World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva received the most votes from European Union finance ministers in Friday’s ballot but fell short of garnering the needed majority, according to three officials familiar with the outcome. She was facing former Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem in the ballot.

Germany and the Netherlands objected to the result and countries entered bilateral meetings to sort out the way forward, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

Qualified majority voting uses population weighting and is the system the EU often uses to take decisions. For approval under the system, a proposal requires the backing of 55% of member states and 65% of the population.

Failure for the EU to rally behind a single candidate could open the door for an emerging-market country or the U.S. to propose names of their own, which would break with the tradition of the post being held by a European. This would also pave the way for the U.K. to put forward a nominee.

On Thursday there were still five candidates in the running, but the field was slowly narrowed to Georgieva and Dijsselbloem. The other nominees were Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino and her Portuguese counterpart Mario Centeno, as well as Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn.

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