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LATIN AMERICA | 08-09-2020 17:13

European leaders ask EU to support postponement of IDB vote

Three European leaders enter debate. Vote to elect the next president of the Inter-American Development Bank is currently scheduled to take place by remote session on September 12.

Three former European presidents on Tuesday urged the European Union to support the postponement of the election of a new Inter-American Development Bank president.

The intervention amid controversy over US President Donald Trump's attempts to install his own candidate at the institution, which is traditionally always headed by a Latin America. 

"The challenge is to preserve the balances guaranteed for decades around the fundamental principles of multilateralism," former French president François Hollande (2012-2017), ex-Spanish leader Felipe González (1982-1996) and the Italy's Massimo D'Alema (1998-2000) said in a joint statement. 

The IDB, the main source of financing for development in Latin America and the Caribbean, plans to elect a successor to Colombian Luis Alberto Moreno, in office since 2005, in a virtual meeting on September 12.

By tacit agreement, the head of the World Bank is normally an American; the managing director of the International Monetary Fund is usually a European; and  the president of the Inter-American Development Bank is from Latin Ameirca.

However, "President Trump has decided to impose one of his own advisers without consulting with the bank's member countries," denounced the three signatories, in a statement that AFP was able to access

"The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has asked the EU Member States that vote in the IDB to guarantee the postponement of this decision. These countries must support this process," they added.

Washington has nominated the Cuban-US lawyer Mauricio Claver-Carone, currently in charge of Latin American affairs on President Trump's National Security Council. He is known for taking hard-line positions towards Cuba and Venezuela.

Argentina –– which has nominated Gustavo Beliz, Secretary for Strategic Affairs to the Presidency –– as well as Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico also support a postponement of the vote by the Board of Governors, the highest authority of the IDB.

The IDB was created in 1959 within the remit of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and has had four presidents: the Chilean Felipe Herrera (1960-1970), the Mexican Antonio Ortiz Mena (1970-1988), the Uruguayan Enrique Iglesias (1988 -2005), and Moreno.

Former Costa Rica president Laura Chinchilla was also in the running, though she pulled out last week.

– TIMES/AFP

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