The unprecedented challenge posed by developing countries to the United States' grip on the World Bank presidency will test industrial nations' commitment to an open selection process, Jose Antonio Ocampo said.
Ocampo is a former Colombian finance minister and one of the nominees for World Bank top job.
"We are putting the industrial countries to account ... if they are really committed to an open, merit-based system," Ocampo told an event hosted by the Centre for Global Development and the Washington Post.
Ocampo and Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are up against US nominee, Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-born American health expert and President of Dartmouth College.
Under an informal agreement, the World Bank has always been led by an American and the International Monetary Fund by a European since the founding of the institutions after World War Two.
Ocampo was interviewed by the 25-member World Bank board of member countries.
He said each of the board directors asked between two to five questions, which focused mainly on his qualifications for the job.
Kim's turn to be interviewed by the board was on Wednesday.
U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, is widely credited for his work in fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and providing healthcare to the poor in impoverished countries.
The board meets on Friday to conduct a straw poll to see if one candidate emerges as a clear favourite.
It is expected to announce its choice on April 16, in time for the IMF and World Bank meetings of global finance leaders in Washington the same week.
Emerging and developing countries have pushed aggressively for more say in the World Bank and its sister organisation the IMF.
They argue that their growing economic clout should be recognised by giving them more power in the two finance institutions.
Ocampo said the next few days will be important in determining whether the selection process was based on the merits of each candidate or on voting power.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was the first nominee to be interviewed by the board earlier, called on the U.S. to show leadership by ending the long tradition of an American always heading the World Bank.
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