Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the IMF late Wednesday night, triggering a world-wide hunt for his replacement at the intergovernmental organization. In a statement released by the IMF, Strauss-Kahn said he wanted to "protect the institution" and focus on proving his innocence. The 62-year-old was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of attempted rape. An instrumental player in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Strauss-Kahn leaves behind an institution tasked with alleviating Europe's debt crisis.
Already, regional powerhouses are jockeying for their preferred replacements. Since World War II, a European has headed the IMF while an American leads the World Bank. But the increasing clout of developing countries threatens to shakeup that longstanding tradition. Europe has a big advantage, controlling 35.6 percent of the votes on the IMF board for a vote that only requires a simple majority, reports The Wall Street Journal. If the countries vote together, it's expected that they can easily elect the favored candidate, French finance minister Christine Lagarde. "Her straight talk has helped burnish Ms. Lagarde’s reputation as one of Europe’s most influential ambassadors in the world of international finance," reports The New York Times.