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  And two new polls find French split over whether Strauss-Kahn should return to politics if the charges are withdrawn.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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More