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By Luke Heighton
     FRANKFURT(MNI) - Estonian central bank Governor Ardo Hansson, regarded as a
frontrunner to take over from Mario Draghi as European Central Bank president,
said he did not want to participate in the race for the succession in an
interview with MNI.
     "It's not by any means my preferred option," he told MNI in Frankfurt on
March 21. "I have kids who I'd like to keep where they are right now. If I were
in a different personal situation then I might answer differently, but I don't
see it as something I want to do terribly much."
     Chicago-born Hansson, 60, had said late last year that it was "flattering"
to be linked with the job "but definitely not Plan A." His latest remarks seemed
to pour still more cold water on the idea.
     The absence of Hansson might clear the path somewhat for other of the
Governing Council's more hawkish members, such as Bundesbank President Jens
Weidmann. Stiff competition could also come from Bank of France Governor
Francois Villeroy de Galhau, the Netherlands' Klaas Knot, Erkki Liikanen and Oli
Rehn of Finland, and current ECB Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure.
     Hansson will step down as Eesti Pank governor on June 6. Draghi's
eight-year term at the ECB is due to end on October 31.
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email:
[TOPICS: M$E$$$,M$X$$$,MT$$$$,MX$$$$,M$$EC$]