News that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested yesterday for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York was met with world-wide shock. While shifting details continue to emerge regarding the allegations, what is clear is this: the New York Police Department arrested Strauss-Kahn “on charges of criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and an unlawful imprisonment in connection with a sexual assault on a 32-year-old chambermaid in the luxury suite of a Midtown Manhattan hotel yesterday,” the department’s chief spokesman said to the New York Times.
The news has thrown the international community into disarray as Strauss-Kahn's many political and economic allies struggle to account for their losses.
Political Fallout. "The impact of the incident on French politics is hard to overstate," wrote Christopher Dickey for the Daily Beast. Strauss-Kahn was one of the leading figures of the French Socialist Party, and there was vast speculation that he would quit his job at the IMF in Washington to oppose, and likely defeat, the deeply unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The leader of Strauss-Kahn's party, Martine Aubry, said she was “stupefied” by the news and called for an emergency meeting of party leaders for Monday, according to the Times. Although Strauss-Kahn's attorney Benjamin Brafman told the Times that he will plead not guilty, even if he is successful it is unlikely he will return to France anytime soon. Presidential elections are scheduled for next April and May, and Strauss-Kahn was expected to declare his candidacy in June.