Stanley Fischer
Stanley Fischer Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Several of the world's leading newspapers say they want to see Stanley Fischer as the next International Monetary Fund chief, and the Bank of Israel governor isn't rejecting the option out of hand, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an anonymous source.

Last week, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde officially announced her candidacy for the post, a week after Dominique Strauss-Kahn was forced to step down amid rape charges in the United States. Lagarde has the backing of some of the IMF's biggest players, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

But Fischer also has the backing of some influential voices - the Washington Post and the Economist both published editorials praising Fischer, whom they said was not a European "inside player." Fischer should get the post due to his excellent professional skills, said both papers.

The Bank of Israel did not respond to the reports on Fischer's potential candidacy, and government sources said that the governor wanted to serve out his term at the central bank. Fischer was recently appointed to a second five-year term.

Fischer himself told Bloomberg on Thursday that he intended to stay at the Bank of Israel, while Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at the recent G8 conference that Israel supported Lagarde for the IMF post.

However, sources said that Fischer was likely to consider seriously running for the IMF post if he were to have majority support.

Several of the world's leading newspapers have expressed support for Fischer, including the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. Reuters and the magazine Euromoney also found significant support for Fischer in surveys.

Lagarde has raised objections from many economists and journalists because she is said to represent European interests.

However, she is considered likely to win, since she has the support of Europe, which has 35% of the votes, and most likely also the United States, which has 17%. If she takes the post, she will be the first woman to head the IMF.