German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled her backing for MarioDraghi as the next president of the European Central Bank, leavingthe Bank of Italy governor unopposed by Europe's politicalleaders.

“I know Mario Draghi,” Merkel told Die Zeit newspaper in aninterview published today. “He's a very interesting and experiencedperson. He's very close to our ideas of the stability culture andsolid economic policy. Germany could support his candidacy for theoffice of the ECB president.”

Merkel's remarks, her first to mention a candidate for the ECBpost by name, were confirmed by the Chancellery and by her chiefspokesman, Steffen Seibert.

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