June 9th, 2011
08:31 PM GMT
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Beijing, China (CNN) – If French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde enchanted top Chinese officials the way she charmed reporters in Beijing, she has a good chance at winning China's support for her bid to run the IMF.

At the French ambassador's residence, Lagarde flashed her winning smile and had the entire press corps in laughter with her witty comebacks and easy confidence.

"Thank you for the very straight question," she joked to a Chinese reporter as the room broke out in chuckles.

Lagarde came here for two days to talk to China's top brass - hoping to drum up support to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund after Dominique Strauss-Kahn unceremoniously resigned in the wake of a sex scandal.

China was the latest stop on her global tour to reach out to developing countries.

Emerging nations have long complained that the world lending body has been dominated by Europeans.

They want more representation and see the vacancy at the top as a possible way to exert greater influence over the institution and the world economy.

Lagarde tried to ease some of those concerns with her visits to Brazil, India, and China though she failed to get official public backing from any of those nations.

Before her name came up as a candidate, one economist told me the worst possible scenario would be for the job to go to a French person because it would send a message that the selection process is not transparent.

I asked Lagarde about this impression after the briefing as she walked passed me out the room.

She grabbed my hand warmly and said: "I am an international person." An international person who earlier had told us she stood for "inclusiveness" and "diversity."

Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carstens is her main rival in the IMF race. He is set to make nearly the same rounds in Beijing and meet the press on June 16. Wonder if he will be just as engaging with reporters and the Chinese.

Follow Eunice Yoon on Twitter: @eyoonCNN

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. alexstorm

    Lagarde' visit is wise because she has to get the support of big china if she wants to get the position. huh

    June 10, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  2. Marc Ourgant

    Et elle va faire des ronds de jambe aux frais de la princesse en Chine, en Inde et ailleurs. Sans vergogne la dame qui dit être « internationale » alors que son expérience fut seulement au sein d’un « trader » de seconde zone aux USA avant d’être repêchée par sarko pour les raisons que l’on sait.

    Lagarde n'aurait pas récusé un arbitre de l'accord TapieReuters | 09.06.11 | 21h23

    PARIS (Reuters) – Christine Lagarde n'a pas récusé l'un des trois arbitres de l'affaire Tapie alors que celui-ci n'avait pas honoré ses obligations d'indépendance et de transparence, écrit jeudi Mediapart.Selon le site internet, cet arbitre n'a pas mentionné dans sa déclaration d'indépendance qu'il avait déjà été en relation de travail avec Me Maurice Lantourne, l'avocat de Bernard Tapie, à l'occasion des deux arbitrages qui ont eu lieu en 1999 et 2001.La ministre de l'Economie "en a eu connaissance mais a choisi de ne pas demander la récusation de l'arbitre", écrit Mediapart.Le procureur général de la Cour de cassation Jean-Louis Nadal a demandé le 10 mai une enquête pour "abus d'autorité" contre Christine Lagarde dans l'affaire de l'arbitrage privé ayant débouché sur l'attribution de 285 millions d'euros à l'homme d'affaires Bernard Tapie en 2008.La commission des requêtes de la Cour de justice de la République se réunit vendredi pour examiner cette demande. Mais Christine Lagarde pourrait ne pas être fixée sur son sort judiciaire ce jour-là, date-butoir pour la présentation des candidatures à la direction générale du Fonds monétaire international. Selon une source judiciaire, les trois magistrats ne devraient pas statuer immédiatement sur ce dossier, repoussant à courant juin ou début juillet cette décision qui jette une ombre sur sa candidature à la succession de Dominique Strauss-Kahn, pour laquelle elle est archi-favorite. Pour Mediapart, la relation entre l'arbitre et l'avocat de Bernard Tapie, qui n'avait jamais été révélée, pas même devant la Commission des finances du Parlement, risque de peser dans la décision de la Commission des requêtes de la Cour de justice de la République.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  3. Donald Fraser Miles

    C Lagarde has the charisma and intelligence to make an excellent IMF leader. She is a lawyer with international experience. She has served and serves as France's Minister of Finance. H Clinton at the World Bank and C Lagarde at the IMF will advance quality economic behaviour in the highest offices of these organizations. It goes without saying that their selection would also advance the rights of women globally by their example and public exposure.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  4. Edgar

    Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carstens is a corrupt official with a lack of economic knowledge. Regardless about the macroeconomic perspective that the world sees in Mexico, the reality is speechless if you see that half of the Mexican population is poor. Please do not consider this person in anyway as a candidate in the IMF race. In Mexico he is complaining as a soar looser in a non professional way.

    Thank you.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  5. NewGB

    Lagarde: "You scratch my back and i will scratch yours."
    Translator:" She says she wants you to scratch her back."
    Hu: "Tell her I can't scratch her back, but we can give her our electric back scratcher which she can use to scratch herself when she gets back to her hotel room."
    Translator: "He does not want to scratch your back. He gives you a gift."

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  6. NewGB

    What enchantment BS analysis is this? There is no enchantment. It is strictly down to dollar and cents and political horse trading behind the scenes, out of sight of the press. A good journalist shoud go investigate what horse trading actually took place between France and China.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  7. H. Steven

    I guess if Carstens grabs this reporter in a bear hug and smiles warmly, he too would be considered engaging...What kind of BS analysis is this indeed???

    June 10, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  8. Pinkpine

    Let leader be from developing country as we have seen whole economy was disbalanced by US & EU countries & again they are saying lady is near the gate of IMF & it is lady's turn why they do'nt want trasparent & healthy candidate? She is Lawyer not an economist and cne helpfull to D.S. Kahn not to IMF!

    June 10, 2011 at 5:15 am |
  9. Mey

    She is the second french politician to be propelled by french president Sarkozy towards the IMF in NYC; And interestingly, she -like DSK before her- would also be more popular than Sarkozy if she decided to run for the french presidential election (where Sarkozy absolutely wants to be the only right wing candidate event though electors dislike him). This is important not only for french presidential election in 2012 but also in 2017, since IMF heads often run for two terms..Seeing who is running against her, this looks like a bogus competition. Carstens has not proven himself like she did. being Mexican is not enough. An Uribe would be more credible than him.

    June 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  10. Reg

    It's kind of corny the way politicians go on these wooing trips, flattering countries with ear-music, merely to win their vote. It looks so cheap and transparent! Why don't they just let the countries decide in their own good time and based on their own research? Wouldn't that exude more objectiveness? Being a politician already has people not trusting you, but then appearing like a greasy used-car salesman is really taking the cake.

    June 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  11. scndnv

    Yawn, CNN.

    June 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  12. Onwuka

    Considering the shape he is in, gross overweight, Carstens is not likely to stay alive for a full term.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  13. Serge

    Christine Lagarde semble toujours avoir fait preuve de bon sens et de pragmatisme. Elle n'est pas "fleur bleue" et est conséquente dans ses propos.
    Je suis convaincu qu'elle est faite pour le job, qu'une élection symbolique en faveur de candidats de pays émergents n'est pas de mise en ces temps difficiles, la symbolique devrait attendre.
    Bonjour d'Europe.

    June 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  14. NO Bummer 2012!

    She didn't get on her knees and kiss his hand like our Dear Leader Obummer did?

    June 29, 2011 at 3:27 am |
  15. NewGB

    It is the horse trading behind closed doors that determines the vote. It is not about the charm.

    July 3, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  16. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    Legarde is under investigation for Financial Fraud - The REAL TRUTH is there are NO COUNTRIES anymore, ONLY BANKS & the IMF who buy and OWN OUR POLITICAL PARTIES & LEADERS worldwide. The only answers is– REVOLT!! & STOP VOTING FOR THESE SAME CORRUPT POLITICAL CRIMINALS! – Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel, Cameron are included in this secret financial cabal!


    August 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  17. LIEBE

    Bonjour Mademosaille !

    Seems Cristi is saying.............ICH LIEBE CHINA ( DRAGon ) !

    October 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  18. LIEBE

    I'll take the SIR WAY when I've SIR + TIME !

    Don't worry for the SIR WAY!

    I'll take it ! I ASSURE U!

    October 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  19. LIEBE

    Christi must've heard the song Et situ Exist a Pas! SALUT! And also EVERYBODY was KUNG-FOO FIGHT(ers)ING!

    Sorry for spell!

    October 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  20. Cassandra Chu

    Want some insight into China? See today's news... this will make you sick.

    October 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
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