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French politicians celebrate DSK release

Matthew Warren · 24 Aug 2011, 11:20

Published: 24 Aug 2011 09:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Aug 2011 11:20 GMT+02:00

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Politicians lined up at TV and radio stations to react to the release on Tuesday of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, with most expressing relief that he is free to return to France and some taking the opportunity to criticize the American justice system.


Former Socialist party leader and Strauss-Kahn ally Martine Aubry said the decision was "a huge relief." In an interview with radio station France Info she said she was glad to see the end of this "nightmare."

François Hollande, the current frontrunner in the race to be the Socialist party's presidential candidate in 2012, told AFP he was "delighted" for Strauss-Kahn's friends and family for "the denouement that comes after three months of unbearable ordeal and twists that were extremely hard to live through". 

Asked in a separate interivew on radio station France Inter whether DSK can run for the presidency, he said: "that's up to him." 

Strauss-Kahn had been the frontrunner for the presidential nomination before his arrest, with polls indicating he would comfortably beat current president Nicolas Sarkozy in a final run-off.

"We must not forget the violence of the [American justice] system, its brutality," said former Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal. "The prison, the handcuffs, the ankle chains, the house arrest - all that to end up with this positive outcome."

On the right, Jean-François Copé, general secretary of the governing UMP party, told France Info he was "happy for Mr Strauss-Kahn because he has been through a particularly heavy judicial test."

His colleague, Gérard Longuet, the defence minister, told radio station France Inter the last few months had been "a tremendous waste."

"So much competence, culture, knowledge, charm should merit more than this painful affair, which will stick with him," he said.

It was left to a small band of dissenting and mostly female voices to sound less than enthusiastic about Tuesday's news.

Marie-George Buffet, member of parliament and former Communist minister said the outcome was "bad news for justice and for women". In a statement she said the decision "poses great risks to women's rights, returning to a time when rape victims were a priori guilty, when rape was not considered a crime."

Olivia Cattan, president of women's group Paroles de Femmes, told newspaper Metro France, "what worries me is the value that will be given to a woman's testimony from now on when she reports a rape to the police."

In its editorial on Wednesday, newspaper Le Monde compared Strauss-Kahn to Bill Clinton, whose presidency was "tarnished" by the Monica Lewinsky affair. 

In the case of Strauss-Kahn, the newspaper said the affair had "lifted the veil on aspects of his personality, his relations with women and with money. Like most French politicians, he thought he was protected by our tradition of respecting private matters."




Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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