Potential candidates to lead IMF

United Nations Administrator of the Development Program, Kemal Dervis. (AP)

There is already a strong list of possible replacements if International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn vacates his post to fight charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.

The fight will be whether to follow tradition and choose a European, or opt for someone from an emerging economy.

Here is a list of possible contenders:

- Kemal Dervis, 62, Turkey: the former Turkish finance minister and UN Development Program head is one of the favorites, well-known in international finance circles and from an emerging G20 member with close links to Europe.

- Christine Lagarde, 55, France: Respected finance minister is a disciplined leader, but could be hurt by being French like Strauss-Kahn. She is also tainted by possible links to a scandal involving businessman Bernard Tapie.

- Gordon Brown, 60, Britain: The former prime minister openly wants the job, but lacks the support of Britain's government.

- Axel Weber, 54, Germany: former German central bank chief is a European alternative to Lagarde, but is seen as too fiscally hard-line for the current IMF stance and Europe's problems.

- Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 54, Singapore: Finance minister much-praised as chair of the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee. But he was named Singapore deputy prime minister on Wednesday and is likely unavailable.

- Montek Singh Ahluwalia, 67, India: Planner, former World Bank star and director of the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office is India's candidate to represent emerging economies. But he may not have the backing of Asian neighbors like China.

- John Lipsky, 64, US: The acting IMF managing director in Strauss-Kahn's absence was already planning to leave in August. An American IMF chief is unlikely, given that one leads the World Bank.

- Agustin Carstens, 52, Mexico: Central bank governor and former finance minister who has the confidence of Washington and the G20. But a Mexican already leads the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

- Trevor Manuel, 55, South Africa: Former finance minister who proved his talents at a young age trusted by Nelson Mandela. But it is not clear he has the broad support of the African continent, where a lot of IMF money goes.

- Stanley Fischer, 67, Israel: Rhodesia-born ex-World Bank economist is now the head of Israel's central bank. He served as IMF deputy managing director from 1994-2001, but he is politically burdened by being Israeli.

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