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International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
August 2002
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    Voting Majorities in the IMF

    The IMF operates on the basis of weighted voting power of its members. Ordinarily, decisions require a simple majority of the votes cast but special majorities are needed for certain decisions as specified in the Articles of Agreement. The original Articles required special majorities for 9 categories of decisions. In the first amendment, that number rose to 21 and in the second amendment it more than doubled again to over 50. At the same time, the number of special majorities was simplified and reduced to two: 70 percent and 85 percent. The third amendment added one category of special voting majority.

    The increased prescription of special voting majorities was supported on the argument that the expanded responsibilities of the IMF required that important policy decisions should command very wide support. However, it also heightened the concern that it would become very difficult to garner the necessary consensus to take major decisions, such as the 85 percent majorities required to approve quota increases, to allocate SDRs, to establish the Council, and other matters. At the same time, it reflected the insistence not only of the United States and of Europe but also, for example, of a group of developing countries to be able to protect their interests through the veto power.

    The need for flexibility in the management of the international monetary system following the breakdown of the par value rule led to increased use of “enabling powers” that required special majorities. The novelty of certain provisions was also seen as justifying special voting majorities, such as for several decisions relating to the SDR regime or for sales of gold by the IMF.

    Several decisions subject to special majorities can be expected to be taken only in exceptional circumstances—for example, the enforcement of pressures on a member, the suspension of voting rights, and the compulsory withdrawal.

    While the Board of Governors has made the maximum delegation of authority to the Executive Board, there remain 13 categories of decisions—most of them relating to adjustment of quotas, to allocation or cancellation of SDRs, to the Council, and to the size of the Executive Board—that cannot be delegated to the Executive Board and nearly all of which require 85 percent of the total voting power. Of the more than 40 categories of decisions requiring special voting majorities that can be taken by the Executive Board, 16 require 85 percent of the total voting power. Most of the remaining categories of decisions relate to financial and operational issues for which the 70 percent majority of the voting power was justified in order to safeguard interests of both debtors and creditors.

    IMF Executive Directors and Voting Power
    DirectorCastingVotes byTotalPercent of
    AlternateVotes ofCountryVotes1IMF Total2
    APPOINTED
    VacantUnited States371,743371,74317.16
    Meg Lundsager
    Ken YagiJapan133,378133,3786.16
    Haruyuki Toyama
    Karlheinz
    BischofbergerGermany130,332130,3326.02
    Ruediger von Kleist
    Pierre DuquesneFrance107,635107,6354.97
    Sébastien Boitreaud
    Tom ScholarUnited Kingdom107,635107,6354.97
    Martin Brooke
    ELECTED
    Willy KiekensAustria18,973
    (Belgium)Belarus4,114
    Johann PraderBelgium46,302
    (Austria)Czech Republic8,443
    Hungary10,634
    Kazakhstan3,907
    Luxembourg3,041
    Slovak Republic3,825
    Slovenia2,567
    Turkey9,890111,6965.16
    J. de Beaufort WijnholdsArmenia1,170
    (Netherlands)Bosnia and
    Yuriy G. YakushaHerzegovina1,941
    (Ukraine)Bulgaria6,652
    Croatia3,901
    Cyprus1,646
    Georgia1,753
    Israel9,532
    Macedonia,
    former Yugoslav
    Republic of939
    Moldova1,482
    Netherlands51,874
    Romania10,552
    Ukraine13,970105,4124.87
    Fernando VarelaCosta Rica1,891
    (Spain)EI Salvador1,963
    Hernán OyarzábalGuatemala2,352
    (Venezuela)Honduras1,545
    Mexico26,108
    Nicaragua1,550
    Spain30,739
    Venezuela26,84192,9894.29
    Pier Carlo PadoanAlbania737
    (Italy)Greece8,480
    Harilaos VittasItaly70,805
    (Greece)Malta1,270
    Portugal8,924
    San Marino42090,6364.18
    Ian E. BennettAntigua and Barbuda385
    (Canada)Bahamas, The1,553
    Nioclás A. O’MurchúBarbados925
    (Ireland)Belize438
    Canada63,942
    Dominica332
    Grenada367
    Ireland8,634
    Jamaica2,985
    St. Kitts and Nevis339
    St. Lucia403
    St. Vincent and

      the Grenadines
    33380,6363.72
    Ólafur ÍsleifssonDenmark16,678
    (Iceland)Estonia902
    Benny AndersenFinland12,888
    (Denmark)Iceland1,426
    latvia1,518
    Lithuania1,692
    Norway16,967
    Sweden24,20576,2763.52
    Michael J. CallaghanAustralia32.614
    (Australia)Kiribati306
    Diwa GuinigundoKorea16,586
    (Philippines)Marshall Islands275
    Micronesia,

     Federated States of
    301
    Mongolia761
    New Zealand9,049
    Palau281
    Papua New Guinea1,5669,049
    Philippines9,049
    Samoa366
    Seychelles338
    Solomon Islands354
    Vanuatu42072,4133.34
    Sulaiman M. Al-TurkiSaudi Arabia70,10570,1053.24
    (Saudi Arabia)
    Ahmed Saleh Alosaimi
    (Saudi Arabia)
    Cyrus D.R. RustomjeeAngola3,113
    (South Africa)Botswana880
    Ismaila UsmanBurundi1,020
    (Nigeria)Eritrea409
    Ethiopia1,587
    Gambia, The561
    Kenya2,964
    Lesotho599
    Liberia963
    Malawi944
    Mozambique1,386
    Namibia1,615
    Nigeria17,782
    Sierra Leone1,287
    South Africa18,935
    Sudan1,947
    Swaziland757
    Tanzania2,239
    Uganda2,055
    Zambia5,141
    Zimbabwe3,78469,9683.23
    Dono IskandarBrunei Darussalam1,750
    DjojosubrotoCambodia1,125
    (Indonesia)Fiji953
    Kwok Man LowIndonesia21,043
    (Singapore)Lao People’s

      Democratic Republic
    779
    Malaysia15,116
    Myanmar2,834
    Nepal963
    Singapore8,875
    Thailand11,069
    Tonga319
    Vietnam3,54168,3673.16
    A. Shakour ShaalanBahrain,
    (Egypt)Kingdom of1,600
    Mohamad ChatahEgypt9,687
    (Lebanon)Iraq5,290
    Jordan1,955
    Kuwait14,061
    Lebanon2,280
    Libya11,487
    Maldives332
    Oman2,190
    Qatar2,888
    Syrian Arab Republic3,186
    United Arab Emirates6,367
    Yemen. Republic of2,68564,0082.95
    WEI Benhua (China)China63,94263,9422.95
    WANG Xiaoyi (China)
    Aleksei V. Mozhin (Russia)Russia59,70459,7042.76
    Andrei Lushin (Russia)
    Roberto F. CippaAzerbaijan1,859
    (Switzerland)Kyrgyz Republic1,138
    Wieslaw SzczukaPoland13,940
    (Poland)Switzerland34,835
    Tajikistan1,120
    Turkmenistan1,002
    Uzbekistan3,00656,9002.63
    Murilo PortugalBrazil30,611
    (Brazil)Colombia7,990
    Roberto JunguitoDominican Republic2,439
    (Colombia)Ecuador3,273
    Guyana1,159
    Haiti857
    Panama2,316
    Suriname1,171
    Trinidad and Tobago3,60653,4222.47
    Vijay L. KelkarBangladesh5,583
    (India)Bhutan313
    R.A. JayatissaIndia41,832
    (Sri Lanka)Sri Lanka Algeria4,38452,1122.41
    Abbas MirakhorAlgeria12,797
    Islamic Republic of Iran)Ghana3,940
    Mohammed DaïriIran, Islamic
    (Morocco)Republic of15,222
    Morocco6,132
    Pakistan10,587
    Tunisia3,11551,7932.39
    A. Guillermo ZoccaliArgentina21,421
    (Argentina)Bolivia1,965
    Guillermo Le FortChile8,811
    (Chile)Paraguay1,249
    Peru6,634
    Uruguay3,31543,3952.00
    Alexandre BarroBenin869
    ChambrierBurkina Faso852
    (Gabon)Cameroon2,107
    Damian Ondo MañeCape Verde346
    Equatorial Guinea)Central African Republic807
    Chad810
    Comoros339
    Congo, Republic of1,096
    Côte d’lvoire3,502
    Djibouti409
    Equatorial Guinea576
    Gabon1,793
    Guinea1,321
    Guinea-Bissau392
    Madagascar1,472
    Mali1,183
    Mauritania894
    Mauritius1,266
    Niger908
    Rwanda1,051
    Sāo Tomé and Príncipe324
    Senegal1,868
    Togo98425,1691.16
    2,159,6663,499.715

    Voting power varies on certain matters pertaining to the General Department with use of the IMF’s resources in that Department.

    Percentages of total votes 2,166,739 in the General Department and the Special Drawing Rights Department.

    This total does not include the votes of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which did not participate in the 2000 Regular Election of Executive Directors. The total votes of these members is 7,073—0.33 percent of those in the General Department and Special Drawing Rights Department.

    This total does not include the votes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which were suspended effective June 2, 1994 pursuant to Article XXVI, Section 2(b) of the Articles of Agreement. The Democratic Republic of the Congo cleared its overdue obligations to the IMF in June 2002.

    This figure may differ from the sum of the percentages shown for individual Directors because of rounding.

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    Access policies on the use of IMF resources are reviewed annually. During most of the 1990s, the net cumulative access limit in terms of a member’s quota has been 300 percent. The provision for higher “exceptional” access, which was used on several occasions during the financial crises of the past decade, was abolished in the context of the latest review of the IMF’s financing facilities (see Section VII).

    The Executive Board rejected the recommendations of the Quota Formula Review Group because, counterproductively, they would have meant a further increase in the quota share of the industrial countries.

    The proposed enlargement of the European Union by an additional 10 countries to a total of 25, through the accession of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia would further raise the EU’s aggregate voting power by 2.8 percent to 32.8 percent.

    The General Arrangements to Borrow were set up in 1962 by the Group of 10 industrial countries (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and, later, Switzerland).

    The role of the World Bank’s Executive Board has been more limited because its charter did not confer on that institution powers that impinge on the sovereignty of its member states. In the chapter on governance in the World Bank history (Kapur, Lewis, and Webb, 1997, Volume I), Devesh Kapur barely mentions the Bank’s Executive Board.

    Following the promulgation of a Code of Conduct for the staff in 1998, the Executive Board adopted a similar code for itself in 2000, including the same financial disclosure requirements as for senior staff, and set up an Ethics Committee to examine issues as necessary and report to the Board for disposition.

    The Western European presence in the Board grows to nine Executive Directors when Spain holds that position in the Latin American constituency that it shares with Mexico, Venezuela, and the Central American countries.

    A new country, East Timor, applied for membership in March 2002.

    In addition to repayments of the 1976 Trust Fund loans, which had been financed by a share of Fund gold sales for the benefit of developing countries (see also Section VI).

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo cleared its overdue obligations to the IMF in June 2002.

    Board consideration of operational matters, financial issues, requests for use of IMF resources, and other matters is concluded, as needed, with formal decisions for which drafts are provided by the Fund’s legal department. The relevant decisions are published with commentary in the IMF’s Annual Report and are periodically reprinted in the Compendium on Legal Decisions.

    The activities of the Group of 10 industrial countries have taken a lower profile since the mid-1970s. The Deputies of the Group of 10 continue to make a valuable contribution with the preparation of special studies on systemic issues. IMF management and staff participate in the activities of the Group of 10.

    The Development Committee (the Joint Bank-Fund Committee on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries) was set up at the same time as the Interim Committee in 1974. Closer examination of Development Committee issues falls outside the scope of this pamphlet.

    The African, Asian, and Latin American regions each appointed eight members of the Group of 24, at the ministerial and deputy levels, with a rotating chairmanship of the group. The Managing Director and staff participate in the group’s meetings.

    France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in the 1975 summit; Canada was included in 1976 and the President of the European Commission in 1977. The G-5 Finance Ministers continued to meet separately until after the 1987 Louvre Summit.

    Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.

    The IMF’s task in protecting the integrity of the international monetary system requires it also to assess the standards of supervision of offshore financial centers and to involve itself in the financial aspects of money laundering.

    The guidelines can be found on the IMF’s external website: www.imf.org.

    The IMF has developed the Data Dissemination Standard (DDS), the Code of Good Practices in Fiscal Transparency, and the Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision leads on the Capital Accord and on the Core Principles of Banking Supervision, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on Securities Markets, and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) on the insurance sector. The World Bank leads on the implementation of standards on corporate governance (which were developed by the OECD) and on Accounting/Auditing (for which standards were developed by the respective international associations). The Bank and the IMF collaborate on Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs).

    An amendment of the Articles of Agreement becomes binding on all member countries as soon as the required majority of 85 percent of the total voting power in the IMF has been achieved.

    The NAB were concluded in 1998 with the GAB countries (see footnote 5 on page 12) and other countries that were deemed financially strong to lend resources to the IMF. The additional countries included Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Together, the 25 participants in the NAB were ready to lend up to SDR 34 billion under the old and new arrangements together.

    INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND PAMPHLET SERIES

    (All pamphlets have been published in English, French, and Spanish, unless otherwise stated)

    45. Financial Organization and Operations of the IMF, by the Treasurer’s Department. Sixth edition, 2001. Third edition also in Russian.

    46. The Unique Nature of the Responsibilities of the International Monetary Fund, by Manuel Guitián. 1992.

    47. Social Dimensions of the IMF’s Policy Dialogue, by the staff of the IMF. 1995.

    48. Unproductive Public Expenditures: A Pragmatic Approach to Policy Analysis, by the Fiscal Affairs Department. 1995.

    49. Guidelines for Fiscal Adjustment, by the Fiscal Affairs Department. 1995.

    50. The Role of the IMF: Financing and Its Interactions with Adjustment and Surveillance, by Paul R. Masson and Michael Mussa. 1995.

    51. Debt Relief for Low-Income Countries: The Enhanced HIPC Initiative, by David Andrews, Anthony R. Boote, Syed S. Rizavi, and Sukhwinder Singh. Revised 1999.

    52. The IMF and the Poor, by the Fiscal Affairs Department. 1998.

    53. Governance of the IMF: Decision Making, Institutional Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability, by Leo Van Houtven. 2002.

    54. Fiscal Dimensions of Sustainable Development, by the Fiscal Affairs Department. 2002.

    Photographic or microfilm copies of all English editions, including numbers that are out of print, may be purchased direct from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, U.S.A. or from Information Publications International, White Swan House, Godstone, Surrey, RH9 8LW, England.

    Copies of these pamphlets and information on earlier issues in the IMF Pamphlet Series may be obtained from:

    International Monetary Fund, Publication Services

    700 19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.

    Telephone number: (202) 623-6430

    Telefax number: (202) 623-7201

    Internet: publications@imf.org

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