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Crucial questions for IMF candidates

June 10 2011 - With nominations for the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) leader now in, campaigners including Christian Aid, ActionAid and the Bretton Woods Project are demanding that the candidates debate each other publicly.

The organisations also want candidates to answer questions on ending Europe’s dominance of the IMF, supporting financial sector reform, curbing volatility and acting in the interests of the ordinary people who are most affected by IMF actions.

Alex Cobham of Christian Aid said: ‘The fundamental lack of democratic transparency and accountability at the IMF has never been more glaringly anomalous. Rather than seeking to stitch up government support behind closed doors, candidates should - at a bare minimum – respond publicly to these key questions about how they would lead this global body.’

Jesse Griffiths of the Bretton Woods Project said: ‘IMF policies have been disastrous for poor and vulnerable people for decades. The Fund needs radical reform, and the public needs to know whether the candidates are willing to do it.’

Nuria Molina of Eurodad said: ‘A public debate is the minimum we would expect for powerful positions at national level. It’s time the IMF joined the twenty-first century and recognised that with power comes responsibility.’

The questions that campaigners want candidates to answer are:

1) Reforming the IMF

a) Will you strongly support the introduction of double majority decision making for all decisions at the IMF, to strengthen consensus decision making and give greater voice to small and low-income countries?

b) How exactly would you reform the appointment processes for all IMF management positions – and how would you recruit deputy managing directors so that the 2009 commitments are kept?

2) Taming financial markets

a) How will IMF staff under your watch work towards global rules that curb excessive private risk-taking and ensure that finance serves the real sector?

b) How will you back the efforts of national authorities to control volatile capital flows so they can contribute to long-term sustainable and equitable growth?

3) IMF role in developing countries

a) Will you commission an independent external review of IMF financial programming and the distributional impacts of IMF conditions, with specific focus on unemployment, pro-poor growth, gender outcomes and inequality?

b) Will you support the use of excess windfall profits from the sale of gold for non-debt-creating and non-conditioned assistance for low-income countries?

4) Reform of the international financial architecture

a) How do you plan to work with major IMF shareholders so that they see it is in their interests to move, over the medium term, to a truly global reserve currency system with more stable exchange rates?

b) Will you support the creation of a fair and transparent arbitration process for sovereign debtors, one which is independent of all creditors, including the IMF, and not biased towards protecting only creditors’ interests?

The full briefing, Question time for candidates: Public debate needed for IMF leadership post, is available at http://imfboss.org/2011/06/10/question-time-for-candidates/

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For more information please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org

Notes to Editor:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk