Opinion Brief

Can Dominique Strauss-Kahn make a political comeback?

Sexual assault charges against the former IMF boss and French presidential hopeful may soon be dropped — but his political future still remains murky

New York prosecutors are preparing to drop sexual assault charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the New York Post reported on Tuesday. With the credibility of the hotel maid who accused him of rape collapsing, nearly half of French citizens said in a recent poll that Strauss-Kahn, who was once considered a strong candidate to unseat French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012, should return to politics. But Strauss-Kahn faces a new accusation of attempted rape back home, and his name has been dragged through the mud for weeks. Does he really still have a future in politics?

Strauss-Kahn could stage an epic comeback: If Strauss-Kahn is cleared in New York, says David Frum at FrumForum, his political career could be instantly revived. He "can now present himself as a victim of everything that French voters dislike about America." And with the French electorate, that might actually be a plus."Is Strauss-Kahn set for a comeback?"

It's up to France's female voters: Strauss-Kahn might never completely repair his "badly tarnished" reputation, says Pierre Haski at Britain's Financial Times. This spectacular scandal has smashed France's "traditional taboo" against prying into the private lives of politicians, and now Strauss-Kahn's "sexual appetite, which went well beyond the liberal French norms of seduction," is public knowledge. "This has left a mark with many female voters, who would be most reluctant to vote for him." And without them, Strauss-Kahn will have trouble unseating Sarkozy."Women hold key to Strauss-Kahn comeback"

This speculation is premature: Talk of a "political comeback may be moot," says Araminta Wordsworth at Canada's National Post. A French writer, Tristane Banon, is formally accusing Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her during a 2003 interview. Strauss-Kahn is telling his lawyers to file a counter-complaint of slander, but if he loses, he's finished. Either way, his fight to clear his name is far from over."Strauss-Kahn’s roller-coaster ride is not over yet"

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