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Police to quiz Hollande over Strauss-Kahn case

French police will on Wednesday quiz Socialist presidential hopeful Francois Hollande as part of an investigation into an alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Hollande told AFP.

Police to quiz Hollande over Strauss-Kahn case
Kenji-Baptiste Oikawa

Hollande is one of around 10 people that Tristane Banon and her mother Anne Mansouret say they told about the alleged 2003 attack against Banon as she tried to interview Strauss-Kahn for a book. 


Hollande is battling to stop the sexual assault allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn from derailing his campaign to win the party’s nomination for next year’s race. 


Daily newspaper Le Figaro earlier revealed that police were also keen to talk to high-ranking Socialists, including Hollande, who was general secretary of the party at the time of the alleged rape attempt.


Investigators initially suggested the interview would take place in September, just one month before the elections to decide the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate. Hollande told Le Monde newspaper yesterday that he is ready now. “I am completely available. I have nothing to hide,” he said.


Hollande is currently the frontrunner in the race, but fears the ongoing investigation could damage his standing. He told a meeting in Dijon on Tuesday that he wouldn’t accept “the manipulation of an affair that has nothing to do with me or the party.”


He cited the example of the front cover of Le FIgaro on Tuesday which put a picture of him next to Tristane Banon. “We can see what newspapers can do,” he said.


Banon’s mother, Anne Mansouret, has claimed that she told Hollande about the incident but that he advised against taking it any further. Hollande has claimed not to have had detailed knowledge of the event.


The Socialist primaries will take place in October, with two rounds of voting on the 9th and the 16th. Nominations closed on July 13th and six candidates are known to have declared, including Hollande, current general secretary Martine Aubry and former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal.

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Here’s the latest in France’s presidential race

President Francois Hollande warned would-be successors they should cleave closely to Europe as it was "impossible" that France could contemplate going its own way.

Here's the latest in France's presidential race
French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in Reunion. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Here are three things that happened in the campaign on Saturday:

Let them throw eggs

Conservative candidate Francois Fillon, under pressure over allegations of fake parliamentary jobs for the family which have hit his poll ratings, received a chaotic reception on a trip to the southern Basque region where some protesters pelted him with eggs.

Fillon, who has accused Hollande of helping foment a smear campaign against him amid claims his wife was on the public payroll but did little for her salary, ran the gauntlet in the small town of Cambo-les-Bains.

Locals demanding an amnesty for radical Basque nationalists banged pots and pans, hurled abuse and objects.

“The more they demonstrate the more the French will back me,” Fillon insisted before meeting with local officials.

Warning on Europe

President Francois Hollande warned would-be successors they should cleave closely to Europe as it was “impossible” that France could contemplate going its own way.

In a barb aimed at far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, Hollande said: “So some want to quit Europe? Well let them show the French people they would be better off alone fighting terrorism without the indispensable European coordination…

“Let them show that without the single currency and (single) market there would be more jobs, activity and better purchasing power,” Hollande said in Rome where he attended the ceremonies marking the EU's 60th anniversary.

Le Pen, favoured in opiniion polls to reach the second-round run-off vote in May, wants France to dump the euro, but Hollande said that would lead to devaluation and loss of purchasing power as he warned against nationalist populism.

'Not Father Christmas'

French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, seen in polls as beating Marine Le Pen in the May 7 run-off, was in Reunion, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean, where alongside discussing local issues, he told voters he was “not Father Christmas.”

“I don't have the solution to all problems and I am not Father Christmas,” the 39-year-old former economy minister and banker admitted, saying he had not come to make “promises.”

He indicated he would focus on education as a priority on an island where around one in five youths are illiterate.