News / Europe

Strauss-Kahn's Political Fortunes in France Rise as Rape Case Unravels

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, right, former head of the IMF leaves his house, accompanied by his wife, Anne Sinclair, left, for the first time after the judge changed the terms of his house arrest, Friday, July 1, 2011 in New York.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, right, former head of the IMF leaves his house, accompanied by his wife, Anne Sinclair, left, for the first time after the judge changed the terms of his house arrest, Friday, July 1, 2011 in New York.
Lisa Bryant

Reports that a New York sexual assault case may be unraveling against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has thrown French politics into turmoil. Strauss-Kahn's case also lays bare sharp divides over matters of sexuality and power in France.

Just a week ago, most analysts and ordinary French considered Dominique Strauss-Kahn a political has-been.  Many once considered the Socialist politician a strong candidate to be France's next president.  But that changed in May, when a New York hotel maid filed sexual assault charges against him.

Strauss-Kahn was placed under house arrest and quit his job as head of the International Monetary Fund.  

Now, questions are mounting about the accuser's credibility.  And two new polls find French split over whether Strauss-Kahn should return to politics if the charges are withdrawn.

On the streets of Paris, some like 19-year-old David Mourjan are in favor of a comeback.

"He is going to come back in France and he will be welcomed as a hero because he was a victim of a plot ...  I think he is the one with the more chances to be the new president in France, even if we know the events," he said.

A number of Socialist Party politicians are similarly upbeat.  But Strauss-Kahn's case and his reputation as a womanizer have also unleashed a passionate debate in France about machoism and sexuality in politics.

Researcher Nicole Bacharan, of the Paris-based Foundation of Political Sciences, says while she sees Strauss-Kahn's male supporters elated at his potential comeback, women are shocked his past behavior might be forgotten.

"If Dominique Strauss-Kahn did not rape this woman, he should walk free.  No question.  However, I think this whole mess will make it more difficult for women anywhere to come forward anywhere and say they have been raped.  That is not very good news," Bacharan said.

American University of Paris Political Science Professor Steven Ekovich believes that whatever Strauss-Kahn's future, his case has offered a civics lesson for many French.

"This is the presumed Socialist candidate for president ... and the Socialist stand in principle for the downtrodden, the poor, those who have not had privileges in life.  And the roles have of course been completely reversed in this particular situation.  So as typical of a political scandal, a political sex scandal even, the question of hypocrisy comes into play.  And here we have a glaring example of hypocrisy," he said.

Strauss-Kahn's worries are far from over.  According to news reports, a young writer plans on filing sexual assault charges against him Tuesday in France.

You May Like

Gun Nation

This is who America's gun owners are More

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs