AP/Washington Post
February 16, 2012

BEIJING — China, the world’s second-largest economy, said Thursday the next World Bank president should be selected on merit, going against a tradition that dictates the bank’s head is an American.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Wednesday he will step down on June 30 at the end of a five-year term, during which he led the bank’s response to the global financial crisis.

Foreign Minister spokesman Liu Weimin told a news conference that “China hopes that the World Bank will select the next president of the World Bank based on the merit principle of open and fair competition.”

A non-American president would be a break from the informal agreement that dates to the bank’s founding almost 68 years ago. The bank’s president is an American under that agreement and the head of its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, is a European.

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