April 14, 2012 - 12:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Colombia's Jose Antonio Ocampo withdrew from the race to lead the World Bank, endorsing Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's challenge against the favored U.S. candidate, AFP reports.
The endorsement likely did little to influence the probable choice of U.S. health expert Jim Yong Kim to be the development bank's next president, especially after Russia came out to endorse Kim.
"It is clear that this is not based on the merits of the candidates but is a political exercise," said the former Colombian finance minister in a public statement.
Ocampo also blamed lack of formal support from his own government, saying that had hindered his ability to garner the backing of other countries.
Always considered a dark horse in the three-way race, Ocampo said he would give his support to Nigerian finance minister and Bank veteran Okonjo-Iweala in the hope of unifying "emerging and developing economies around one candidate."
Earlier Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega indicated BRICS group of large emerging markets - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa would endorse a single candidate later Friday.
"We will take a position together with the BRICS, making a common choice," Mantega said. But that plan appeared to be shot through when Russia broke ranks, endorsing Kim after he visited Moscow.
"Taking into account professional qualities, experience and the competences of Mr Kim, Russia will support the candidacy of Jim Yong Kim," Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted by the Interfax agency as saying.
Brazilian World Bank director Rogerio Studart confirmed Ocampo's departure and acknowledged the BRICS group appeared split despite his country's efforts.