IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn's sexual assault charges don't just mess things up at the IMF: they toss things around on the French political scene, too. It's not just that Strauss-Kahn has been the leading candidate for France's Socialist Party--he has been the only viable candidate. What's more, up until now he had a pretty good chance of beating Sarkozy in the next election. Here's why that almost certainly won't happen now, and how that does a real number on French politics.
Strauss-Kahn Is 'Finished' The Telegraph's Anne-Elisabeth Moute quotes "French leading polling expert" Stéphane Rozè on this: "If the whole situation isn’t exposed for being a political set-up in the next 24 to 48 hours ... Monsieur Strauss-Kahn's political career is finished. He is, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty, but even suspicion of attempted rape will make it impossible for him to stand."
Why the French, Famously Blasé About Sex Scandals, Won't Overlook This One True, "there is a rule in France which is to separate public and private life," admits Le Monde's chief political editor Françoise Fressoz in a live chat on the paper's website. "The French press has a custom of not talking of private life when it passes between consenting adults and has now political implications." But "in the case of the accusations against DSK, we're on a different level, because the accusation of rape has been brought up, whether falsely or accurately." Of course, Moutet over at The Telegraph explains the inevitability of this particular scandal a little differently: "It is well worth noting that it took the long arm of New York's finest to make the Strauss-Kahn scandal incontrovertible even to the very cagey French press." Moutet points out that Strauss-Kahn is notorious womaniser, and, as the recent second complaint of assault comes in, it is clear that there have been incidents like this before.