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Economy

France's Lagarde only candidate to head IMF

media IMF boss Christine Lagarde, seen in this file picture, is the only candidate in a contest for the next five years in the role Reuters/Ruben Sprich

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that its managing director, Christine Lagarde, is the sole candidate for the new term that begins in July. Named to head the IMF in July 2011 for five years, Lagarde officially entered her nomination for a second term on 22 January. The deadline to submit nominations expired on 10 February.

Lagarde had received numerous expressions of support from officials in Europe, the United States and Latin America, and as the sole candidate, the 60-year-old former French finance minister is virtually assured a second term.

At the same time Lagarde may hit a legal obstacle - she could face trial in France over her role in a banking scandal dating back to before she took the IMF job. Last December judges placed her under formal investigation over her alleged role in the long-running scandal over a large state payoff to former Adidas boss and politician Bernard Tapie.

Lagarde has said she will fight the trial order and the IMF board has declared its confidence in her.

The IMF executive board is expected to name the next managing director by 3 March.

Lagarde easily won the last contest in 2011, when several developing country candidates had vied to take over the IMF as Europe was sinking deep into economic crisis. But her victory came amid criticism that the IMF's top job should not be locked down by a European, as it has since the institution was created in 1944.

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