(Reuters) – Argentina on Monday joined calls from Latin America for a delay in the election of a new president for the region’s leading development finance lender, citing logistical complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A delay in voting would be a potential setback for U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the institution.
The U.S. candidate, Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Trump adviser known for his hard-line stance on Venezuela and Cuba, is the current favorite to win the top spot at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is set to hold a vote on the matter next month.
“This postponement is necessary because something as vital to us as the new IDB president cannot come out of a virtual meeting,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Sola in an interview with Radio con Vos in Buenos Aires.
Claver-Carone would become the first person from outside Latin America to lead the Washington-based bank, a smaller cousin of the International Monetary Fund that has been led by Latin Americans since its founding in 1959.
Mexico’s finance ministry said last week that the vote should be postponed “until the conditions were right,” echoing a similar call on Thursday from Chile. Also last week Costa Rica’s foreign ministry said in a statement that delaying the election would be “a timely and convenient option”.
Regional heavyweight Brazil has however backed Claver-Carone’s candidacy, along with Colombia.
Reporting by Eliana Raszewski, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky