You have our blessing to seek top IMF job, PM tells Fischer

MIT professor ‘supremely qualified for the job,’ says Palestinian Authority PM Fayyad.

Stanley Fischer speech at BGU 311 (photo credit: Dani Machlis/BGU)
Stanley Fischer speech at BGU 311
(photo credit: Dani Machlis/BGU)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has backed Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer’s decision to seek the top job at the International Monetary Fund, saying on Monday, “If you want to go, you have our blessing.”
However, Netanyahu, who made the remark at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, acknowledged that losing the country’s top economist would “create a problem for us if it happens.”
Fischer, who announced his decision to join the race for IMF chief on Saturday, has also won support from an unlikely source – the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “[Fischer] is supremely qualified for the job. Indeed, it’s difficult to see how one can be more qualified.”
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Fischer in which the Zambian-born former MIT professor declared that he was not too old for the job, saying, “It’s not sensible at this stage to say to someone at 67, who is full of vigor, that he’s too old.”
IMF regulations require a person to be 65 years old or younger when elected as managing director for the first time, a rule that will need to be changed for Fischer to be elected.
Fischer also said he was unimpressed by the globetrotting of rivals Christine Lagarde of France and Agustin Carstens of Mexico, telling WSJ: “I believe the case needs to be looked at on its merits and not on political factors…We’ll have a far more reasonable contest that way than if we just left it to who can travel around the world most often.”
The spotlight will be on Fischer and Lagarde next week when they will both be sitting on the same panel at the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
The two will speak about the future of the global economy, alongside former Harvard University president Prof. Larry Summers, ex-Peruvian president Dr. Alejandro Toledo, and former World Bank chief, James Wolfensohn.