Press sees end to DSK career, warn of euro disarray

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Leading dailies united in declaring an end to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's political career Monday after his arrest on sex charges and said it had left efforts to shore up the euro in dissaray.

In France, where Strauss Kahn was seen as the leading challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 French election, the political fallout of his arrest in New York dominated the front pages.

"Unbelievable, incredible, inconceivable," the right-leaning Le Figaro wrote in an editorial.

"As we wait for truth to be sorted from falsehood, one thing is already certain: Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be the next president of the French Republic," it said.

Strauss-Kahn was polling as the brightest hope for France's opposition Socialists of taking power from Sarkozy in 2012 and news of his arrest on Saturday on board a Paris-bound Air France flight threw the Socialist party into disarray.

Though he had not yet officially declared his candidacy, the man commonly known in France as DSK was widely expected to throw his hat into the ring for the upcoming primary to choose the Socialist candidate.

"The Socialists have lost the only candidate who was, in all possible configurations, leading in the polls. And who was capable of beating Nicolas Sarkozy," the left-leaning Liberation wrote in its editorial.

"This promising political dynamic has collapsed before the campaign has even begun," it said.

French business newspaper, Les Echos, wrote in its editorial that the scandal had turned Strauss-Kahn's career upside-down in an instant.

"The investigation is just beginning into the reality of the accusations against the IMF director general, but the damage to his image and reputation has without a doubt already reached the point of no return," Les Echos wrote.

For some, the scandal was a sign that the longstanding French tradition of ignoring the private lives of its politicians may finally be coming to end, especially considering previous allegations concerning Strauss-Kahn.

"France is experiencing its first Anglo Saxon-style sex scandal and is suddenly entering an area of public debate that until now -- whether because of cultural exception, the 'Latin' identity or democratic weakness -- was previously confined to rumours and gossip within a small circle of initiates," Liberation wrote.

Strauss-Kahn was on his way to meeting Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on the Eurozone crisis when he was pulled out of his first-class seat by police officers Saturday.

"In one instant, one of the most powerful men in the world left a most worrying void," wrote Publico, Portugal's leading national daily.

"Athens in Distress," headlined Kathimerini, a Greek quality broadsheet. "Strauss-Kahn was at the forefront of discussions over a new EU/IMF loan to Greece," it wrote. "The Frenchman's arrest puts these talks at risk."

Britain's Guardian newspaper was equally blunt about the impact, saying "talks on resolving the European debt crisis have been plunged into disarray" by the episode.

London's Financial Times, confident in leadership continuity at the IMF, wrote that the arrest "may have little immediate effect on the International Monetary Fund's operations, but may force the organisation's member countries to confront wider issues of European influence over the fund."

A view shared in India, where the Economic Times said the scandal had "raised speculation" about whether a non-European should get the chance to take over the IMF should Strauss-Kahn be forced out.

© 2011 AFP

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