Daily Archives: August 29, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn popped back into the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund Monday afternoon to say goodbye to staff. I am as supremely unqualified to comment on the events in New York which led to his resignation as were many of those who did chip in. But, with his successor making waves in Europe with a pointed speech on bank capital, here is a brief thought on his tenure.

The standard view (which I largely share) is that a smart political operator seized the opportunity of the global financial crisis to turn round an organisation bereft of purpose and beset by drift. But having adroitly manoeuvred the fund into involvement in the Greek bail-out, DSK also risked it being dragged along in a rescue programme driven – incompetently – by the eurozone. Read more

Here we go again. Japan has a new prime minister. This is a truly momentous event – momentous, that is, for anyone who has managed to maintain a smidgen of interest in who runs the Japanese government these days. So this one goes out to all three of you.

Yoshihiko Noda will be sworn in as prime minister on Tuesday after being elected leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Monday afternoon. Read more

Drum roll. Tan-Tan-Tan-Tan. And the winner is…Tony Tan. After the tightest of electoral races, Dr Tan was on Sunday declared the president-elect of Singapore, beating out three other candidates who also happen to be called Tan.

The post is largely ceremonial. But the slimmest margin of victory for the government’s preferred candidate – just 0.34 percentage points over his closest rival – suggests there is something stirring in Singapore’s once predictable political scene. Read more