US Government should not dictate World Bank President

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government not to support the appointment of Robert Zoellick as president of the World Bank without a fair and open nomination process.

Liberal Democrat Shadow International Development Secretary, Lynne Featherstone MP has written to Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn calling on the Government to nominate another candidate or, failing that, to instruct the executive director on the board of the World Bank not to support the nomination.

Lynne Featherstone said:

“Recent events should have demonstrated to the World Bank the importance of a fair selection process, but this appointment has been neither transparent nor open.

“It is hard to justify how we can lecture others on how to conduct their business when such an important position is decided in this fashion.

“The selection process must be based on the merits and appropriateness of the candidates. This is vital for the future legitimacy of the World Bank and in order to ensure responsible conduct and effective working.

“Time is short, but the British Government can still act. They have a clear choice – ensure that the best candidate is chosen through an open and transparent process or allow the US to reign free once again.”

Text of letter:

It is my belief that the World Bank President should be appointed in an open selection process, based on the merits and appropriateness of the candidates. This is vital for the future legitimacy of the institutions and in order to ensure a responsible conduct and high effectiveness in their work.

I understand that the board has declared that other nominations can come forward before June 15. I therefore urge you to nominate an alternative candidate and to open up the process. No offence to Mr Zoellick but the appointment has been neither transparent nor open.

Failing that, I would be grateful if you could consider instructing the executive director on the board of the World Bank not to support the nomination of Zoellick on the grounds set out above.

Yours sincerely,

Lynne Featherstone