Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • Captain not at helm when ship listed, South Korean officials say

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

France

Strauss-Kahn release sparks talk of political comeback

©

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-07-03

Leaders of France's Socialist Party were quick to hail the news of Dominique Strauss-Khan's release from house arrest on Friday. But the prospect of his political comeback has highlighted internal divisions ahead of party primaries.

Socialist Party leaders had good reason to cheer on Friday. As the sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a key figure within the party, teetered on the verge of collapse, members of France's main opposition party openly expressed feelings of joy and relief.

But joy soon gave way to discomfort when talk turned to Strauss-Kahn’s possible political comeback.

Before prosecutors in New York slapped Strauss-Kahn in May with charges of forcing a hotel maid to perform sexual acts and attempting to rape her, many in France regarded him as the frontrunner in next year’s presidential election.

Community Reaction - US

Prosecutors have not dropped the charges against the French politician, but have admitted to holes in his accuser’s story. Strauss-Kahn has been released from house arrest pending further hearings.

At least one of his political allies called on the Socialists on Friday to suspend the party’s primaries scheduled for October.

"I held on to the hope that Dominique Strauss-Kahn could eventually take part in the primaries,” said Michèle Sabban, a Paris region lawmaker and steadfast Strauss-Kahn supporter.

Political timetables, divisions

While other Socialist Party members were more guarded in their reactions than Sabban, almost all felt obliged to comment on the prospect of Strauss-Kahn’s return to the presidential race.

Former Socialist Party head François Hollande, another frontrunner in the primaries, said he would support a move to delay the July 13 deadline for candidates to declare their intention to run.

Strauss-Kahn’s next hearing at the New York City court is scheduled for July 18.

But Manuel Valls, a prominent Socialist mayor from the Paris region and also a presidential hopeful, was quick to warn that the developments in New York should not affect the Socialists' priorities in France.

"We should not jump to conclusions, and should not confuse the American justice system’s timetables with our political timetable," Valls said. “I do not see why we would change any dates."

Hollande, whom several pollsters regard as the current favourite in the primaries, said the voting should still take place in October as scheduled, with or without Strauss-Kahn.

According to Jean-Daniel Lévy, a research director at the polling agency Harris-Interactive, the impact of Strauss-Khan's release on the Socialist Party was not necessarily positive.

"As early as Saturday we saw dissention in the opinion expressed by the different Socialists," Lévy explained.

Some party members lamented these emerging differences.

Christophe Borgel, who is in charge of organising the Socialist primaries, asked party members to stop speculating about Strauss-Khan’s eventual return to politics.

“The Socialists are extraordinary!” a sarcastic Borgel exclaimed Friday, “We have every reason to rejoice and yet we throw ourselves at the first debate that is meant to divide us.”

Date created : 2011-07-02

  • USA

    Strauss-Kahn freed as doubts arise over accuser

    Read more

  • STRAUSS-KAHN INQUIRY

    Strauss-Kahn's release as it happened

    Read more

  • JUSTICE

    Strauss-Kahn prosecution enlists French legal help

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)