(Reuters) - Here is reaction from politicians and analysts on Sunday to the arrest of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Latest opinion polls had put Strauss-Kahn as clear favorite to win if he were to stand in France’s 2012 presidential election. Other likely contenders from the opposition Socialist Party to unseat the ruling conservative UMP party include party leader Martine Aubry and left-wing veteran Francois Hollande.
ANNE SINCLAIR, STRAUSS-KAHN’S WIFE
“I do not believe for a single second the accusations leveled against my husband. I do not doubt his innocence will be established. I appeal for restraint and decency.”
HERVE MORIN, FORMER Defense MINISTER, PRESIDENT NEW Center
“I’m not a socialist, he is not my political friend, but despite that I call for the presumption of innocence. I will not take part in the witch hunt, with the dogs that are barking and those spreading rumors and saying ‘I told you so’.”
“We have to be extremely prudent in analysis, comments and consequences. The position of the French government respects two principles: a legal process under the authority of American justice ... and the respect of the presumption of innocence.”
“The news we received from New York last night struck like a thunderbolt. I call on the Socialists to stay united and reasonable.
“I urge that we wait for the facts, respect the presumption of innocence and maintain the necessary decency.”
“I’m flabbergasted, It’s terrible news. There is a charge, but it’s not proof of guilt. We have to react with emotion ... but also with reserve.
“It doesn’t resemble the man I know. The sooner justice intervenes, the earlier it will be better for him, the institution he represents and for all of us.”
“Do you realize the image of France in all this? It’s no longer possible for DSK (Strauss-Kahn).”
“This man must be respected, his family must be respected. I don’t want to make use for myself of what has happened. I think it would be indecent to make an episode out of this today and the rest of the week.”
“The case and the charges ... mark the end of his campaign and pre-campaign for the presidency and will most likely prompt the IMF to ask him to leave his post.”
“All this is completely astounding, immensely troubling and distressing. If the facts prove true ... it’s something degrading for all women. It’s terrible for the image of France.”
MICHEL TAUBMANN, STRAUSS-KAHN BIOGRAPHER
“Evidently, it could harm his career if it proves true that he has committed these acts, but if he manages to clear himself of this then it could be beneficial to him.
“If he’s falsely accused, that could benefit him because the French don’t like someone being wrongly accused.”
“This will change things. We are going to have a (Socialist Party) campaign of Martine Aubry versus Francois Hollande. The presidential election is far from being decided and there can be surprises, as this shows. The current president is far from being beaten.
“The most likely outcome is that this case will stick and even if he pleads not guilty, which he may be, he won’t be able to be candidate for the Socialist primary for the presidency and he won’t be able to stay at the IMF.”
“It’s absolutely crazy. If it’s true it would be a historic moment, in the negative sense, for French politics... I cannot believe it.
Reporting by John Irish, Elizabeth Pineau, Sophie Louet and Brian Love; Editing by Catherine Bremer