Australia and Canada said they support Mexican central bank Governor Agustin Carstens for the top job at the International Monetary Fund over his rival Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister.
It is important that the new IMF managing director be selected in an open and transparent process with the candidate chosen on the basis of merit and not nationality, Australia and Canada said in joint statement e-mailed by Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan's spokesman, Fergus Maguire.
A European has held the top IMF job since it was created at the end of World War II, while an American has always headed the World Bank.
The statement said Carstens' experience as a deputy managing director of the IMF, along with his background as finance minister of Mexico and his current position, equip him very well to understand and address, on a collaborative and inclusive basis with IMF member countries, the challenges faced by the global economy.
Carstens has trailed Lagarde in gathering support for his bid to lead the Washington-based fund. Lagarde has the backing of European nations and support among emerging countries from Egypt to Indonesia, while until now Carstens has claimed the support of most Latin American nations while failing to garner endorsements from Argentina or Brazil.
Both candidates are highly credible, the statement said.
The job became open when Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned following his arrest in New York on sexual-assault charges. The IMF board has said it will meet June 28 to assess the two candidates and that it aims to make a choice by June 30.
We look forward to the decision of the IMF Executive Board, whether it be in favour of Mr. Carstens or Ms. Lagarde, and to working closely with the next managing director to build a strong and sustainable global economy, the statement said.
The Latin American group backing Carstens includes Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Uruguay, Mexico, Paraguay, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, Colombia has said.
Brazil's representative at the IMF, Paulo Nogueira Batista said his country may throw its support behind Carstens in his long shot bid to become the next head of IMF.
Nogueira Batista, an executive director at the IMF, said Mr. Carstens had impressed many Latin American countries with his extensive experience during a recent forum.