August 14, 2018 / 8:22 AM / 3 months ago

New Israel central bank chief may only be appointed in 2019 -finmin

JERUSALEM, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Israel’s central bank governor may be appointed only after the next national election, due in 2019, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Tuesday.

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug, whose five-year term ends on Nov. 12, has said she would not seek a second term. If a new governor is not named by then, Flug’s deputy Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg would be likely to replace her in the interim.

Asked by Israeli Army Radio whether the next governor will be appointed before the parliamentary elections, scheduled for late 2019, Kahlon said: “I suppose we will manage to, and even if we don’t then never mind, if there won’t be one (an appointment), then it will happen after the next election.”

Kahlon also said he expected political divisions in the coalition government may lead to an early election at the start of 2019.

An Israeli government official said on Monday that Mario Blejer, a former head of Argentina’s central bank, was being considered by Kahlon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a possible candidate to replace Flug.

Israeli newspapers have reported on other names being considered for the job as well, including Zvi Eckstein, a former deputy Bank of Israel governor, Nathan Sussman, who until recently headed the central bank’s research department, and banking regulator Hedva Ber. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; editing by David Stamp)

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