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Lagarde takes top post at IMF

THE International Monetary Fund's board has elected French finance minister Christine Lagarde (right) as the new managing director of the global lender.

In a statement, the IMF said she would serve a five-year term starting on July 5.

Her victory was assured after emerging powers China, Russia and Brazil declared their support for her and the US followed with its endorsement ahead of the meeting of the 24-member board.

Her only rival for the job had been Mexico's central bank governor, Agustin Carstens, but his challenge faded.

In May, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF managing director to defend himself against charges of sexual assault and attempted rape.

He is denying the charges.

As part of a long-standing convention, Europe has always held the top IMF job, while the World Bank's top post has always gone to an American.

Developing countries have warned against another US-European stitch-up, but some potential candidates from emerging markets decided not to step up because they did not feel they had a fair chance at the job.