Swiss may not support European for IMF post - paper

ZURICH Sun May 22, 2011 6:45pm IST

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn gestures during his bail hearing inside of the New York State Supreme Courthouse in New York May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Richard Drew/Pool

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn gestures during his bail hearing inside of the New York State Supreme Courthouse in New York May 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Drew/Pool

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland will support the best candidate for the top job at the International Monetary Fund and will not necessarily back a European, the Alpine state's top official at the global lender told a paper on Sunday.

In an interview with Der Sonntag, IMF Executive Director Rene Weber said: "Switzerland is not a priori supporting a European. For us the qualifications, the track record, and the requirements of the mandate -- maintaining stable currency and financial relations -- are key."

Given the euro zone debt crisis, having a non-European head could even be preferable, Weber said.

"It could on the contrary be better if an external person points to the economic weak points within the euro zone."

Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the IMF after being charged with trying to rape a hotel housekeeper on May 14.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been touted by many European governments, but developing countries, with growing clout in the world economy, are calling on Europe and the United States to avoid a backroom deal over the appointment.

The IMF has been run by a European since it was created at the end of World War Two.

(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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