Socialists distance themselves from Strauss-Kahn
French Socialists are distancing themselves from Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Wednesday, the ex-IMF boss once tipped to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s presidential vote.
They welcomed the dropping of sexual assault charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief on August 23, with party leader Martine Aubry saying she felt “immense relief.”
But the mood has changed since the Socialists held their summer conference last weekend which saw the top contenders in the party’s presidential primary -- Aubry, Francois Hollande and Segolene Royale face off.
Aubry repeated Tuesday that she had always insisted that Strauss-Kahn, who was a finance minister in a previous Socialist government in France, benefit from the presumption of innocence.
But she notably added: “I think the same as many women about the attitude of Dominique Strauss-Kahn to women.”
Michel Rocard, a Socialist elder statesman and former prime minister, went even further in calling Strauss-Kahn’s character into question, saying that the former IMF boss suffered from a “mental illness.”
“This man quite clearly has a mental illness that makes it difficult for him to control his urges, » Rocard told Canal+ television, alluding to persistent rumours of improper conduct towards women by Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, resigned as the IMF’s managing director after he was arrested and charged in May with sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York.
Aubry said Tuesday she expected him to return to France within a few days.
In seven weeks, Socialist supporters will vote in a primary to choose the party’s candidate to face Sarkozy next April.
Strauss-Kahn is expected to travel to France within the coming days.
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