Pressure mounts on Strauss-Kahn to step aside as IMF chief | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.05.2011
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Pressure mounts on Strauss-Kahn to step aside as IMF chief

As Dominique Strauss-Kahn awaits his next court appearance in a New York jail cell on sexual assault charges, the IMF chief is facing growing pressure to quit his post as head of the international body.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Strauss-Kahn was still behind bars Wednesday

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is facing growing pressure to quit as head of the international body, both from inside the IMF and from some US and European officials.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday the 62-year-old was in no position to run the international body and called for an interim managing director to be formally named.

"There's a lot going on in the world," said Geithner, who once worked for the IMF. "You want the IMF to have the capacity to be helpful."

Strauss-Kahn was refused bail on Monday at his first court appearance in New York after being charged with sexual assault and attempted rape. He has denied the allegations, and is awaiting his next court appearance on Friday in the city's notorious Rikers Island jail.

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said Strauss-Kahn had to consider whether he "is inflicting damage" on the IMF by not resigning.

In his corner

French Socialist party leader Martine Aubry

French Socialists, like Martine Aubry, have voiced anger over Strauss-Kahn's treatment

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, meanwhile, has said "the IMF is so well-organized that it can cope with the temporary absence of the chief."

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who also leads the Eurogroup, said it was "indecent" to consider a post-Strauss-Kahn leadership as he had neither resigned nor been found guilty.

In France, several Socialist leaders have voiced outrage at the way Strauss-Kahn was paraded in front of the media after his arrest at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday. Strauss-Kahn was believed to have been favoring a return to politics for the left to run for the French presidency in elections next year.

Even President Nicolas Sarkozy urged center-right lawmakers to show "restraint and dignity" and to refrain from commenting on the case.

Jostling begins

The battle to succeed Strauss-Kahn escalated Tuesday with a clutch of emerging economies challenging Europe's long-standing grip on the IMF's top job.

The IMF logo

Developing nations argue it's time to end Europe's IMF leadership

China said the selection of the next IMF boss should be based on "fairness, transparency and merit," while senior officials in Brazil and South Africa said the job should go to someone from a developing country.

The position has traditionally gone to a European, with the US maintaining control of the parallel post with the World Bank. The US currently has the most votes within the IMF and will likely play a large role in determining any replacement for Strauss-Kahn.

Meanwhile, the New York media is reporting that as a precaution, Strauss-Kahn is on suicide watch.

Author: Darren Mara (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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