Bush seeking US citizen to succeed Wolfowitz

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2007 (AFP) – US President George W. Bush intends to nominate a US citizen to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank, the White House said Monday. “We intend that the next World Bank president would be an American,” spokesman Tony Fratto said after Bush returned from a long weekend on his Texas ranch.

Earlier, Fratto said that the search would not be wrapped up in “days,” noting that US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was talking to other major World Bank shareholders and to “other interested groups” before giving his advice to Bush.

“I said that we intend to move quickly on this and we do, but it will be a process,” Fratto told reporters.

According to accepted practice, dating back to the creation of the bank and the International Monetary Fund at the end of World War II, the US president picks the World Bank chief. Wolfowitz said he would step down on June 30 in the “best interests” of the bank following weeks of pressure over a generous pay and promotion package he arranged for his girlfriend, a bank employee.