EU Parliament leaders to reject Mersch for ECB


BRUSSELS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Party leaders in the EuropeanParliament have agreed to reject Luxembourg central banker YvesMersch's candidacy for the European Central Bank's executiveboard on grounds of gender bias, a statement from one of theleaders said on Thursday.

The statement said a hearing into his candidacy would stillgo ahead on Oct. 22, but that the outcome was already agreed.

"The hearing should take place on October 22nd but anegative recommendation would be adopted, based on the failureby the Council to respect the demands laid down," SylvieGoulard, the head of the Liberal parties in the parliament, saidin an emailed statement.

In September, the lawmakers postponed Mersch's appointmentindefinitely by putting off the cross-examination in protest atwhat they called "systemic" bias against women.

Mersch can still be appointed by euro zone leaders, but therejection of his candidacy by parliament makes it politicallymore difficult for that to happen.

(Reporting By Claire Davenport)