Chinese economist to replace Strauss-Kahn?

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Li Daokui, an adviser to the Chinese central bank's monetary policy committee, agreed that the chances of a European stepping in to the position are slim this time, but he said supporting a Chinese candidate is not a best choice for the country.

"I think a talent from a neutral and small country would accord more with the interests of the world including China, because big countries such as India and Brazil have too many national interests," he said.

Developing countries have spent years attempting to reform the IMF's voting system. In December 2010, the 187 member states adopted a set of voting right reforms that will double quotas and lead to a fully elected executive board.

Brazil, China, India and Russia will be ranked among 10 largest shareholders as a result, and China is expected to take third place, following the US and Japan.

British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested earlier that the IMF should look for its next chief outside Europe and the US to increase its global standing.

"If you think about the general principle, you've got the rise of India, China and South Asia, a shift in the world's focus, and it may well be the time for the IMF to start thinking about that shift in focus," he told BBC Radio.

But Europeans won't readily give up leadership of a key financial institution that is overseeing global economic stability, particularly with Greece, Ireland, and Portugal facing a debt crisis.

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she preferred another European to lead the IMF, given that the institution is already deeply involved in the bailouts of struggling European countries.

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso told Dutch television on the same day that he would not engage in speculation but if a successor is necessary, the European Union should propose a candidate.

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