French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has put herself forward for the post of head of the International Monetary Fund. She officially announced her candidacy at a press conference in Paris. The job became vacant after former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped down to fight sexual assault charges made against him in the United States.
Lagarde has the support of European countries who, in the context of the Euro currency crisis, are eager for the job to go to a European. However some emerging economies have said the post should be given to a non-European.
The IMF is expected to choose its next managing director by the end of June and candidates are invited to apply before June 10.
The French finance minister said she has been greatly encouraged to run by the support she has received from European nations.
Lagarde told a Paris news conference: "It's an immense challenge that I'm approaching with humility and in the hope of achieving the broadest possible consensus. If I'm elected, I'll bring to the IMF all my experience as a lawyer, a company director, a minister and a woman."
The 55-year-old centre-right politician faces tough competition for the post from Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China and South Africa, who would all like to see an emerging market nation or a non-European hold the IMF top job.