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Last updated at 15:59 BST, Wednesday, 29 June 2011

New leader for International Monetary Fund


29 June 2011

Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, has been selected to be the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund.


Christian Fraser

Christine Lagarde being interviewed

Christine Lagarde being interviewed by reporters


Click to hear the report


France has held this position for 26 of the past 33 years. So it's "as you were" with one notable, pretty obvious difference.

Christine Lagarde is a woman. She was the first woman to become the finance minister of a G7 country and will now resign her post within the French government to become the first woman to head the IMF.

But such is the respect with which this former lawyer is held internationally it has come as little surprise. She's been the point on many European financial issues in recent years, she is a fluent English speaker and once she had picked up the endorsements of India and China, her confirmation as the new IMF chief was a formality.

There's an unwritten rule that Europe takes the IMF, the United States heads its sister organisation the World Bank. The developing countries want a bigger say but this is a critical time for Europe with Greece on the brink. The EU and the IMF is demanding unprecedented cuts to guarantee the continued funding of last year's bailout package and Europe wants one of its own at the helm. Ms Lagarde is straight in at the deep end. They voted for her knowing she is more than capable - but what a challenge.

Christian Fraser, BBC News, Paris


Click to hear the vocabulary



something deserving attention

been the point

taken the lead position


public statements showing support

a formality

almost certainly guaranteed to happen

an unwritten rule

an accepted but unofficial agreement

a critical time

an extremely important moment that could affect the future

on the brink

on the edge of a very risky or dangerous situation


something that has never been done before to this extent

at the helm

in charge of the organisation

in at the deep end

starting her job in the middle of a very difficult situation

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