French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde will continue the tradition of a European heading the important global body after winning today’s election. An IMF statement praised Carstens and Lagarde as "well-qualified candidates" but ultimately Lagarde will become the first female to head the organization.
Her campaign was all but assured over the past 24 hours when she received support of several key countries including China, a rapidly emerging nation and the U.S., which holds a de facto veto by controlling 17% of the votes. (Candidates must receive at least 85% of voes in order to win). She also received backing from Russia, most of the E.U. states, and several African countries.
Carstens received 12% of the votes from countries like Canada and Australia. Despite getting support from most of the Latin American bloc two of the region’s heavyweights- Argentina and Brazil- instead opted for Lagarde.
According to The Telegraph’s website Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said that he was “glad more than one candidate had been launched.” Nevertheless, Mantega admitted hours before the vote that Lagarde was his country’s preferred choice:
Brazil chose Lagarde not only for her experience, background and knowledge, but also for her commitment to continuing IMF reforms, "which implies increasing representation among emerging economies," Finance Minister Guido Mantega said…Image- Ueslei Marcelino via The Guardian (“Mexico's central bank governor – and (former) candidate for the IMF's managing director – Agustín Carstens, at a news conference in Brasilia, 1 June 2011.”)
In Latin America, Peru, Colombia and Chile have backed Carstens. Yet Carstens was seen by some Brazilian officials as too conservative an economist, and Brazil's emerging rivalry with Mexico as a major power in Latin America also may have been a deciding factor.
Online Sources- The Guardian, BBC News, The Telegraph, Reuters, The Latin Americanist