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Berne against boosting IMF voting rights of developing countries

The government has rejected proposals to give developing countries more voting rights within the International Monetary Fund. The finance ministry said such a move would not be in Switzerland's interests.

In a statement following the weekly cabinet meeting, the ministry said any reform which gave other countries more than a marginal increase in voting rights would amount to a voluntary reduction in Switzerland's own share of the vote.

It added that Switzerland would therefore no longer be in a position to represent another group of countries.

Switzerland, which joined the IMF in 1992, currently represents Poland and five central Asian republics: Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan. Together, they hold 2.7 per cent of the voting rights.

The government was responding to proposals made by members of the Swiss parliament to boost the position of the poorer countries in the IMF by giving them more say and at the same time restricting the dominance of the United States. Washington currently holds 17 per cent of voting rights.

The members of parliament also called for more transparency on the positions represented by the government at the IMF. The government rejected the calls, saying it had already significantly increased the amount of information made available to parliament and to the public.

However, it said it welcomed the growing interest in the Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF and the World Bank).

swissinfo with agencies

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