Israel's central bank chief has a new and unexpected supporter in his bid to head the International Monetary Fund: the Palestinian prime minister.
Salam Fayyad says Stanley Fischer would make a "great managing director" for the world financial body and is a "superb human being."
The Palestinian Authority does not participate in the selection process, but Fayyad said if he had a vote, he would cast it for Fischer.
"He is supremely qualified for the job. Indeed, it's difficult to see how one can be more qualified," Fayyad said.
Fayyad, a US-trained economist and former senior IMF official, told the Associated Press on Sunday that he has known Fischer for two decades, since the two worked together at the IMF.
A Zambia native and internationally respected economist who has also held top jobs at the World Bank and Citigroup Corp., Fischer has headed the Bank of Israel since 2005. He announced his candidacy for the IMF job on Saturday, saying it was an "extraordinary, unexpected and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Despite his qualifications, Fischer's bid may be a long shot. The post has traditionally gone to a European, and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has emerged as the front runner.
Beyond that, the Bank of Israel said in a statement announcing Fischer's candidacy Saturday that the IMF accepts candidates under 65 years old. Fischer is 67.
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