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  And two new polls find French split over whether Strauss-Kahn should return to politics if the charges are withdrawn.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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid