France’s Socialist leader is urging party faithful to stay united for the upcoming presidential campaign after U.S. sexual assault charges sidelined the party’s leading contender.

The arrest of IMF chief and prominent French Socialist Dominique Strauss—Kahn has thrown his party and the race for French presidential elections next year into disarray.

Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry said on Tuesday that, “More than ever, we should be united and combative.” She said the important thing is that “one of us wins 2012.”

Mr. Strauss—Kahn had topped polls for months as the candidate most likely to beat out President Nicolas Sarkozy. Ms. Aubry herself may seek the long—divided Socialist Party’s endorsement in upcoming primaries.

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