IMF agrees to increase China's voting power
Updated: 2006-09-19 11:08

SINGAPORE - The 184-nation International Monetary Fund approved reforms to increase the voice of emerging economies China, South Korea, Turkey and Mexico to reflect their growing economic sway.

Monday's move, which raises the voting share of those four nations, aims to boost the credibility of the IMF, which six decades after its founding is facing criticism for giving the U.S. and other Western powers too much influence.

The proposal won 90.6 percent of the total vote, the IMF said in a release. It needed 85 percent to pass.

Voting shares affect member countries' say in the decisions of the Washington-based institution and how much they can borrow from it. The IMF works to promote global economic stability and provide emergency loans to members in crisis - akin to a financial firefighter.

In a second step, the IMF will overhaul the voting structure of all member nations within two years to give developing nations a great voice.

"These governance reforms are tremendously important for the future of our institution. They will enhance our effectiveness and add legitimacy to all of the other reforms we are implementing," IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato said in a statement prepared for delivery to delegates Tuesday.

Mexico's finance minister, Gil Diaz, welcomed the move, but said it would not result in a major change in the fund's policies, given the strong influence still wielded by the U.S., which holds a 17 percent share of the votes, an effective veto.

"Having a bigger quota doesn't give you so much power," Diaz said. "The power you have has to do with your ability to convince others to support programs you want to carry out."


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