Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How many people need to tell this rat to scram?

MEPs call on Wolfowitz to resign

European pressure on Mr Wolfowitz is growing

The European Parliament has added its voice to those calling on World Bank boss Paul Wolfowitz to resign over a promotion row involving his partner.

MEPs voted by 332 to 251 to ask Germany, which currently holds the EU Presidency, to call for his departure at next week's EU-US summit.

Their resolution states his resignation would be a "welcome step" in supporting the body's anti-corruption strategy.

Mr Wolfowitz is accused of intervening to secure a big salary for Shaha Riza.

'Undermining policy'

The former US deputy defence secretary has been under pressure since it emerged that he sought a promotion and a $200,000 (£100,000) salary for Ms Riza in 2005.

Mr Wolfowitz has apologised for his actions and pledged "major changes" in the way that his office is run in light of the episode.

But his position at the head of the global lending body remains insecure with unions, former bank officials and politicians across Europe calling for him to step down.

Our message for him must be it is time for you to go
Graham Watson, MEP

He has hired a leading US lawyer to defend him while the Bank's board of directors considers his long-term future.

The motion passed by the European Parliament stated that Mr Wolfowitz's "withdrawal from the post would be a welcome step towards preventing the bank's anti-corruption policy from being undermined".

During a debate on the issue, a succession of MEPs called on him to stand down.

"Our message for him must be it is time for you to go," said Graham Watson, leader of the liberal and democrats' alliance.

Martin Schulz, leader of the socialist group, said Mr Wolfowitz's position was "untenable".

US support

The parliament's action is likely to have little direct impact on Mr Wolfowitz's fate.

But its symbolic significance will renew the pressure on the World Bank ahead of President George W Bush's meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 30 April.

The US government, a powerful voice within the World Bank, has backed Mr Wolfowitz, saying that it has "full confidence" in him.

Original article posted here

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