PARIS - France on Tuesday hailed the "victory" of its finance minister Christine Lagarde in winning the post of the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon applauded the appointment as "an honor for France" in a statement as the Washington-based group announced the decision.
Lagarde's personal quality and experience accumulated during her mandate as French finance minister "will be an undeniable asset to deepen the changes that have made the IMF a major player in global economic governance," he said.
Lagarde's nomination as the first female head of the IMF is "a victory for France," said President Nicolas Sakozy's office.
"This decision is recognition of an exceptional woman, a great professional and an internationally-recognized French Economy and Finance Minister who is engaged and widely respected," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in his statement.
"On top of the IMF, Christine Lagarde will always have the support of France," Juppe added.
Grouping 187 member countries, the IMF has selected Lagarde as its next Managing Director to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn who, also a French national, resigned in May on charges of attempted rape.
Lagarde, to take the office next Tuesday, will be the first woman to head the IMF since its inception in 1944.