Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund following his arrest and imprisonment on charges of sexual assault.
In a statement dated Wednesday on the IMF website, the popular left-leaning political figure expected to run for French president in 2012 said, “it is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of Managing Director of the IMF.”
Strauss-Kahn was taken off of a Paris-bound flight at Kennedy International Airport on May 14, and arrested on charges of assaulting a maid in his New York City hotel room that day.
In the statement, Strauss-Kahn said, “I think at this time first of my wife—whom I love more than anything—of my children, of my family, of my friends.”
He also claimed his innocence.
“I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me. I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially—especially—I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence,” said the statement.
Recent polls repeatedly showed that Strauss-Kahn was considered more popular than current French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and the most likely opponent to unseat him in the next election. Bloggers and pundits even mused on the fact that France might be led by a Jewish president, if Strauss-Kahn were voted into office.
John Lipsky remains acting managing director of the IMF, while speculation continues on a possible replacement. Finance minister to Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde, is a favored contender. She is the former head of the Chicago-based law firm Baker & McKenzie, and lived in the United States for over 20 years. Stanley Fisher, governor of the Bank of Israel, has also been suggested.