IMF chief's arrest rocks French presidential race

By the Associated Press | May 15, 2011 | 6:45 AM EDT

PARIS (AP) — The arrest of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in connection with a sexual assault in New York risks throwing the French presidential race in disarray.

Strauss-Kahn is seen as the strongest potential challenger to conservative and unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012 presidential elections. Strauss-Kahn has not announced his candidacy but was expected to seek the Socialist Party nomination.

Political rivals expressed shock after his arrest in New York. Far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said his presidential bid was doomed. Socialist adversary Segolene Royal urged prudence pending further investigation.

Ally Jean-Marie Le Guen said the sexual assault claim sounded nothing like Strauss-Kahn. Le Guen recently suggested the IMF chief was the subject of a smear campaign.