Mario Blejer, a former head of Argentina’s central bank, is the leading candidate to the post of Bank of Israel Governor, after two consecutive nominees have dropped out.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping that Blejer, 65, who worked in senior positions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and served for a short term as president of Argentina’s central bank—during the economic crisis of 2002 (Blejer was asked to step down by the economy minister.)
Blejer is Netanyahu’s top candidate, but a finance ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday that former Bank of Israel deputy governor Zvi Eckstein, Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu and ex-Finance Ministry director-general Victor Medina are also in the running.
The candidates are undergoing a vetting process from a panel that oversees senior civil appointments.
Duty free shops around the globe are being called as you’re reading this report, with inquiries about the shopping (and payment) habits of all the candidates.
Blejer enrolled at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and graduated cum laude with degrees in Economics and Jewish History in 1970, as well as with a Master’s Degree in Economics from the same institution, in 1972. He then earned a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago in 1975, and joined the Boston University Department of Economics as an Assistant Professor.
Blejer advocates the need for further regulation of the world’s financial markets. After his 2002 appointment as president of the Central Bank of Argentina, he supported lifting the withdrawal limits (corralito) on accounts, and prepared a plan to achieve this though treasury bills, whereby depositors would be allowed to withdraw larger amounts only by accepting these as payment, in lieu of cash. He also advocated for a plan to dollarize the Argentine economy. These policies met with the opposition of the Economy Minister, Roberto Lavagna, and Blejer resigned after serving a scant three months (he began as VP, and was promoted after his boss had resigned).