IMF to lose legitimacy without reform - Russia

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MOSCOW, Oct 1 (Reuters) The International Monetary Fund will become irrelevant if it fails to give a greater voice to emerging nations, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin wrote today.

Russia backed Czech former prime minister and central banker Josef Tosovsky to take charge at the IMF, but he lost out to France's ex-Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Kudrin, writing in the Financial Times, criticised the longstanding convention under which the United States backs a European candidate to run the IMF. He said qualifications, not geography, should be decisive.

''It is not difficult to understand that if one or other structure is seen by a significant part of the world as ensuring the domination of one country or group of countries over others, it will lose its legitimacy,'' wrote Kudrin.

Kudrin said Russia would hold Strauss-Kahn to his pledge to reform the global lender to give developing countries greater clout.

''We sincerely hope that the new IMF managing director will be able to put into practice his declared programme. Should he fail, we will have to forget about the IMF as a serious global institution regulating international finance.'' REUTERS SYU HT1332

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