By Marcus Leach

French finance minister Christine Lagarde has announced her candidacy to take over as the new head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dominique Strauss-Kahn handed in his resignation last week after he was charged with sexual assault in New York.

Since Mr Strauss-Kahn stepped down Ms Lagarde has been one of the firm favourites to replace him, and has the support of much of Europe. There were, however, calls from emerging countries that maintaining the tradition of a European leading the IMF was 'obsolete'.

All 10 of the IMF's managing directors since 1944 have been European, and the 24 members of the IMF's executive board will decide on who the new chief is.