European development bank elects new president | News | DW | 18.05.2012
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European development bank elects new president

In its first election between a number of candidates, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development made an unusual choice. Breaking with tradition, the bank will not be run by a German or French national.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has elected a British civil servant as its new president. "EBRD shareholders have elected Sir Suma Chakrabarti as the new president of the Bank for the next four years," the London based EBRD said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement followed a tense round of voting and is the first time there has been more than one candidate for the post. Chakrabarti replaces Germany's Thomas Mirow, who stood for re-election along with Frenchman Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, a vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), ex-Polish prime minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki and former Serbian deputy prime minister Bozidar Djelic.

The vote occurred after European Union finance ministers failed in the run-up to this week's EBRD annual meeting to reach a consensus over who should lead the bank for the next four years.

All of the EBRD's presidents to date have been either French or German. It had been generally understood that as the headquarters of the bank are in London, the president would not also be British.

Chakrabarti is the top civil servant at the U.K.'s Ministry of Justice and before that was its top official at the Department for International Development. At the EBRD he is to be tasked with supporting growth in former Soviet bloc countries and economically troubled Arab nations.

jm/slk (AP, AFP)