Timeline for BOI governor selection extends from 'days' to 'weeks'

Lapid, Netanyahu reportedly have sharp disagreements over which of the three BOI governor candidates to choose.

September 19, 2013 20:01
1 minute read.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid

Finance Minister Yair Lapid 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The expected timeline for selecting a Bank of Israel governor has grown once more as Finance Minister Yair Lapid told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that the choice may take “weeks.”

“This is a fine example of the fact that comedies are just tragedies in fast-forward,” Lapid said in reference to the saga of choosing a successor for Stanley Fischer, who stepped down in June. “We have managed to choose two candidates who turn out to be the wrong candidates and they decided to withdraw, and now it’s going to take a few days or weeks more.”

Just two days earlier, Lapid told The Jerusalem Post that a decision would be made within a matter of days.

The Committee for the Appointment of Senior Civil Servants, headed by Judge Jacob Turkel, approved last week three possible nominees for the post: former Central Bank of Argentina president Mario Blejer, former Bank of Israel deputy governor Zvi Eckstein and former Finance Ministry director and Bank Mizrahi CEO Victor Medina.

Lapid and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly have sharp disagreements over which of the three to choose.

The most recent delay is only the latest in a series of stumbles in the process of selecting a new chief for the central banks. Though Fischer announced in January that he would step down at the end of June, Lapid and Netanyahu did not nominate a successor until several weeks after his departure.

That nominee, former governor Jacob Frenkel, subsequently withdrew his candidacy following an uproar over an alleged shoplifting scandal in the Hong Kong airport seven years earlier.

The next nominee, Bank Hapoalim chief economist Leo Leiderman, withdrew his nomination after just two days, as rumors of professional misconduct and his consulting with an astrologer made their way into the headlines.

In his interview with the Post on Monday, Lapid denounced the media scrutiny of the candidates, saying it would deter potential office holders in the future.

“A lot of what is bad in the Israeli discourse came out through this,” he said. “I understand the end result of what happened, I don’t understand the amount of bad blood and evilness that came through this.”

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