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Draghi Favorite to Succeed Trichet at ECB, Paddy Power Says

Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi is the favorite to replace Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank, according to Paddy Power Plc.

The Irish bookmaker offered odds of 4 to 9 on Draghi succeeding Trichet, whose term ends in October. That means a gambler betting 9 euros ($12) would win 4 euros and their stake back if Draghi was picked by European leaders. Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen was installed as second favorite with odds of 2 to 1.

The race for the ECB presidency was thrown open last week by the withdrawal of Bundesbank President Axel Weber, who economists had anointed the frontrunner. Draghi, chairman of the Financial Stability Board, is the only declared candidate for the job.

Weber’s departure “seems to clear the way for Mr. Draghi to succeed Mr. Trichet,” Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities Ltd. in London, said in a note to clients today.

Draghi, 63, is a former official in the Italian finance ministry and the World Bank. Italy’s reputation for fiscal imprudence and his three years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may count against him, as might the fact that another southern European, Vitor Constancio of Portugal, is already vice president at the ECB.

Paddy Power offered odds of 8 to 1 on central bankers Yves Mersch of Luxembourg and Nout Wellink of the Netherlands taking over at the ECB. Klaus Regling, head of Europe’s bailout fund, is a 20 to 1 outsider, the Dublin-based company said.

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