French political class divided on Strauss-Kahn
Paris: Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn sincere and
humble, or unconvincing and laughable?
French reaction was divided on Tuesday after the first public
appearance in France by Strauss-Kahn, a French presidential
hopeful until his May 14 arrest on accusations of sexual
assault by a New York hotel maid.
The only agreement within the political class was that
there would be no quick return to politics for the man known
here as DSK, and even some fellow Socialists said it was time
for France to move on without him.
Strauss-Kahn told TF1 yesterday night that his encounter
with Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo was a "moral
failing" that he deeply regrets but insisted there was no
The charges against him in New York were dropped but
Strauss-Kahn confirmed that fallout from his arrest put him
out of the running for the 2012 race.
He also was forced to leave his post as chief of the
International Monetary Fund.
Strauss-Kahn's TV appearance drew 13.4 million viewers to
their TV screens more than a fifth of the French population
and 47 per cent of the audience share, according to
Mediametrie, which measures media markets.
The last time such a high score was reached was in
November 2005, during the fiery unrest that gripped France's
troubled housing projects.
Political rivals and lawyers for Diallo criticised
Strauss-Kahn for failing to give his version of what happened
in the hotel room where the maid who is bringing a civil suit
against him claims she was attacked as she entered to clean.
"Mr Strauss-Kahn distorted by transforming (the
interview) into a magic sponge that cleanses him of everything
that happened in New York ... ," Thibault de Montbrial, Diallo's lawyer in Paris said.
"We look forward to greeting him in our offices and
asking him the questions the reporter failed to do," Diallo
lawyers Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor who are bringing
the civil suit in New York said in a
reaction to Strauss-Kahn's TV appearance.
They dismissed his TV time as a "desperate ploy" for
Ploy or not, it worked for Socialist Party stalwart, Jack
Lang, a former culture minister.