The Latest: 4 finance ministers seek job as eurozone chief

The Latest on the upcoming election of the eurozone's top official (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

The finance ministers from Portugal, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Latvia are in the runoff to seek the presidency of the eurogroup, the gathering of finance chiefs of the 19 nations that use the euro.

The EU council said there will be several rounds of voting when the finance ministers meet in Brussels on Monday to seek a successor to Dutch socialist Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

Mario Centeno, a socialist from Portugal, is considered a favorite.

The eurogroup chief is a high-profile public figure who has in the past been closely involved in fighting financial crises.


11:35 a.m.

Portugal's government says it has put forward its finance minister Mario Centeno as a candidate to become head of the group of 19 countries which share the euro currency.

The center-left Socialist government said in a brief statement Thursday that Harvard-educated Centeno will run in the eurogroup election next week.

The eurogroup chief chairs meetings between the eurozone finance ministers and is a high-profile public figure.

Centeno took office in the Portuguese government that came to power in December 2015 and pointedly reversed numerous austerity policies the country was forced to adopt after needing a 78-billion-euro ($92 billion) bailout in 2011 to avoid bankruptcy.

Centeno blamed austerity for causing a three-year recession before he took office. Portugal's economy is thriving again, with growth forecast to reach 2.3 percent this year.