Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Snippets on Strauss-Kahn

As International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn sits in the Rikers Island jail following an arrest on allegations of rape, world media has been of many minds about what it means, and what to expect. They vary in what the predict and project, but all seem to bear the same breathless anticipation for what's around the corner.

Here are a few:

The Wall Street Journal's The Source reports that, contrary to fears, DSK's arrest has not led transatlantic markets to tank.

French political parties are scrambling to find firm footing in the lead-up to the country's presidential elections next year, and Sarkozy's has issued a (characteristically audacious) statement that the Socialist Party has lost “the moral part of the battle for the presidency,” the New York Times says.

Would-be successors to the notoriously womanizing public figure include the Swiss Josef Ackermann, the German Thomas Mirow, the Briton and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde. Some European leaders, including Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, have argued that for the traditionally European-led organization, only a European should be considered, so as to continue to steer the Old Continent out of the debt crisis currently embroiling the European Union's monetary standing.  

The IMF has had a heavy, and generous, hand in the bailout process of the eurozone's worst-faring countries, and many in Europe fear their IMF help may dry up if one of theirs is not in control. This piece also notes that, "for the first time, there is a genuine possibility that the I.M.F. position could go to an official from a faster-growing non-Western country, reflecting the shifting global economy" (NYT also). 

EUobserver writes that two EU ministers who are both women -- Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter and Spanish senior official Elena Salgado -- have moved for Strauss-Kahn to step down, so as to preserve the image of the IMF and to take into account the "extraordinarily serious" nature of the allegations.

Presseurop reports via Mediapart that as "a harsh reminder of reality," the IMF boss, despite being "one of the most influential, most powerful, most popular men in the world," still has to "answer for his conduct as an ordinary citizen."  

Euronews covers the sore subject of Strauss-Kahn's damning portrayal in US media, which stands in stark contrast to the 'Guigou Law' passed in France last year to reinforce the presumption of innocence by banning the show of charged persons in handcuffs or being escorted by police. The law was named after the politician who drafted it, the Socialist Elisabeth Guigou.

“I found that image to be of unimaginable brutality, violence and cruelty,” said Guigou, in Global Post.