Sarkozy wants Strauss-Kahn for IMF


French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he wants Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister and member of the opposition Socialist Party, to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund.

In an interview published by Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Saturday, Sarkozy said he had already put forward Strauss-Kahn's name to US President George W Bush and the leaders of Spain, Italy and Britain.

"I want Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be France's candidate at the head of the IMF because he is the best suited to this post," Sarkozy was quoted as saying in the interview, released in advance of publication today.

Mr Sarkozy's suggestion was backed by German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck.

His spokesman Mr Torsten Albig said in Berlin that Mr Steinbrueck was informed in advance of the proposal. He said German wants a "good European candidate".

"Strauss-Kahn is a good European candidate and we hold him in high regard," Mr Albig said. He added the cabinet would discuss the proposal before the government gave a formal endorsement.

Critics have suggested that Mr Sarkozy wants to place Mr Strauss-Kahn in the prestigious post to deprive the Socialists of one of their most popular and effective figures.

Mr Sarkozy told the newspaper he was president of all the French people and wanted to make sure the best talents got promoted, regardless of their political affiliations.

"I know this (IMF) post is very coveted. To get it you need to have a lot of credibility, undeniable credibility and be a polyglot. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has these qualities," he said.