WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Lebanon has nominated investment banker Ziad Hayek as a candidate for president of the World Bank, mounting the first challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump's choice to lead the development lender, Hayek said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
Hayek, who has served as secretary general of Lebanon's High Council for Privatization since 2006, also posted a nomination letter from Lebanon's finance ministry.
He is challenging Trump's nomination of David Malpass, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for international affairs. Malpass has met a tepid response from some World Bank board members due to his status as a Trump loyalist who has criticized the bank and multilateral institutions in the past.
Hayek's entry into the race could draw other candidates into a contest expected to be decided before World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in April. The World Bank is accepting nominations through March 14 and will narrow the field to up to three candidates for a board vote.
The United States, which controls the most voting power on the World Bank board, has chosen every past leader of the bank, but the tradition has been challenged by emerging markets in recent years.
Hayek has previously served as chief executive of Lonbridge Associates in London, and was a board member of BIT Bank in Beirut. He also worked as a senior managing director of Bear Stearns, where Malpass had served as chief economist prior to its 2008 collapse. (Reporting by David Lawder Editing by Tom Brown)