Washington - IMF directors for five key emerging market economies on Tuesday said it was time to scrap an "obsolete unwritten convention" that requires the head of the International Monetary Fund to be a European.
In a joint statement, IMF directors for China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Russia, or Bric countries, criticised European officials for implying that the successor to former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn should continue to be a European.
They urged "abandoning the obsolete unwritten convention that requires that the head of the IMF be necessarily from Europe" and argued that it undermined the legitimacy of the global institution.
France said earlier on Tuesday that China backed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde for the job but China's foreign ministry had no comment. Lagarde has called a news conference for 11:45 on Wednesday.
The nations said the recent financial crisis, which erupted in developed countries, underscored the need to urgently reform international financial institutions to reflect the growing clout of developing countries in the world economy.
"We believe that, if the Fund is to have credibility and legitimacy, its managing director should be selected after broad consultation with the membership," the IMF directors said, adding that the new IMF boss should be chosen on the basis of competence, not nationality.