May 16 - The arrest of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn throws French socialists - and their presidential campaign - into turmoil. Nick Rowlands reports
The arrest on Sunday of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sexual assault charges has thrown France's Socialist Party into turmoil. A leading French socialist said on radio that he was devastated by the arrest. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MANUEL VALLS, A SENIOR FRENCH SOCIALIST: "Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a friend whom I have known for a long time. The pictures this morning were of an unbearable cruelty. And I asked myself why I accepted to come along here. I had tears in my eyes." Strauss-Kahn was one of the opposition Socialist Party's leading presidential candidates. His arrest for an alleged attempted rape in a New York hotel room is a major setback. An expert from a French polling institute said it was the first time such an incident had affected a presidential election. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FREDERIC DABY, HEAD OF OPINION AT IFOP POLLING INSTITUTE: "This is the first time that a judicial matter has had such an impact -- it's not a private life matter, it's a judicial matter which has such an impact on a presidential election in France." Local residents had mixed reactions to the charges, with one man claiming it's a plot to tarnish Strauss-Khan's image ahead of the presidential poll. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARIS RESIDENT: "For me, it's a well organised plot. He's the victim of a plot. Thanks" Nick Rowlands, Reuters.