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EU Nations Back Bulgaria’s Georgieva As IMF Chief, But Victory Still Uncertain

European Union governments have chosen Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva as their candidate to lead the IMF.

European Union governments have chosen Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva as their candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund (IMF), although her official appointment is not yet certain.

The 65-year-old Georgieva on August 2 won the support of the majority of the 28 EU states after two rounds of voting, the bloc announced.

"It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the role," Georgieva said on Twitter.

AFP cited a source as saying Georgieva won the support of 56 percent of EU countries representing 57 percent of the bloc’s population.

The qualified majority voting rules mean an outright winner should have the support of at least 55 percent of the member states representing 65 percent of the EU's 500 million people, indicating that the August 2 vote may not be the final word in the process.

Georgieva, a center-right politician, has served since 2017 as chief executive of the World Bank, the body’s No. 2 position. Following the EU vote, she said that she had requested "administrative leave" from her World Bank post.

In 2016, the economist was a candidate to become UN secretary-general before losing out to Antonio Guterres of Portugal.

Her age may also be an issue. Georgieva turns 66 on August 13, putting her candidacy up against a rule that the IMF's managing director must be under 65 when appointed.

Members could make an exception for her, but sources have told news agencies that such a move remains uncertain. Reuters reported that Washington had given its support to Georgieva, a big step toward her eventual approval.

Georgieva was born on August 13, 1953, in Sofia, capital of then-communist Bulgaria.

After earning a PhD in economic science, Georgieva taught at the London School of Economics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard Business School.

She was also World Bank director for Russia, based in Moscow, in 2004. She is fluent in Russia, along with English.

The IMF is accepting nominations through September 6 and plans to select its new leader by October 4.

By agreement, a European traditionally leads the IMF, while an American heads the World Bank.

The 189-country IMF provides members with economic advice and financial assistance.

Christine Lagarde on July 16 submitted her resignation as chief of the IMF, an expected move after she was nominated to be the next president of the European Central Bank.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, and Reuters

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