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The ground may have been laid for the International Monetary Fund to bolster the representation of emerging markets on its governing council, but at present it appears to be all but assured that Europe will retain the top post in the institution for another five years.

Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister, has been managing director since 2011 and all indications suggest she will secure another five-year term starting in July, with apparent support from Europe, Washington and most likely Beijing, a number of officials and observers told Euro Insight.

The selection process ends in March, and so far no other candidate has emerged,...

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