Stanley Fischer's late bid to become the next leader of the International Monetary Fund has ended ignominiously, when he was barred from the race because of his age.
The 67-year old governor of Israel's central bank had hoped the IMF would overlook the stipulation that a new managing director must be no older than 65. Instead, Fischer found himself dismissed from the field just three days after his last-minute entry spiced up the contest.
Fischer, a highly experienced economist, said he was disappointed not to be able to demonstrate his abilities.
"I think that the age restriction, which was set in the past at 65, is not relevant today," Fischer said. "I was hoping that the IMF board of directors would change its regulations, not only for the sake of my candidacy, but also for the sake of future candidates for the position of managing director".
Fischer added that he would "proudly and happily continue" as governor of the Bank of Israel.
The deadline for nominations to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF head closed last Friday. Fischer's forced withdrawal leaves just two candidates, French finance minister Christine Lagarde, and Bank of Mexico governor Agustin Carstens. The two shortlisted candidates will meet with IMF's executive board later this month. The board hopes to make its choice by 30 June.
Lagarde is widely seen as the frontrunner - despite Fischer appearing to question her credentials as a non-economist. Carstens admitted on Monday night that he is unlikely to become the first non-European to run the IMF.