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IDB board approves new president's leadership team

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The board of the Inter-American Development Bank approved four candidates for top jobs proposed by the bank’s first U.S. leader on Friday, overcoming weeks of delays prompted by Mexico and Argentina.

The IDB’s 14-member executive board approved the four candidates - from Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay and Argentina - for vice president positions, the bank said in a statement.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, a former top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump whose nomination to head the bank drew opposition from Argentina, Mexico and others, vowed when he won election in October to give smaller countries a bigger say in the bank’s leadership.

He had proposed a slate of three candidates from smaller countries, irritating both Argentina and Mexico. Last week, Claver-Carone added a fourth candidate, an Argentine who already holds a senior job at the bank.

Argentina and Mexico abstained from the vote, government sources in both countries told Reuters.

“We don’t believe that cabinet represents governance for the region,” the Argentine government official said.

The United States is the development bank’s biggest shareholder, controlling 30% of the bank’s shares.

Following Friday’s vote, Reina Irene Mejia, chief executive of Citi Honduras, will assume the No. 2 job, while former Paraguayan Finance Minister Benigno Lopez will become vice president of sectors and Ecuador’s former Finance Minister Richard Martinez will become vice president of countries.

Gustavo De Rosa, an Argentine who already serves as the bank’s chief financial officer, will be vice president for finance and administration.

The Argentine government official said that De Rosa was “not affiliated” with the government of Argentina.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; additional reporting by Cassandra Garrison in Buenos Aires and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Chris Reese, Tom Brown and Diane Craft

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