French politicians turn on Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Published 31/08/2011 | 15:06
Martine Aubry, the party’s former leader, has stuck the knife into the former IMF chief just "days" before his return home and amid embarrassing plans by his Socialist supporters to hold a "welcome home" celebrations for him.
“I think the same as most women about his attitude to women,” she said.
Ms Aubry, 61, a French presidential hopeful who will run in party primaries next month, said it was not for her to judge Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was once her main rival as Socialist candidate, after he was freed from attempted rape charges in the US last week.
But she demanded that the 63-year-old economist “must explain himself” when he returns to France.
“He is now free to react, to move about freely and to speak openly,” she said on France’s Canal Plus television channel.
“I was the first to say that he is innocent until proven guilty, and for the rest, this is a matter on which Dominique Strauss-Kahn must explain himself.
“The French people do not expect me to tell them what went on in that hotel room. I have no idea.
“He’ll be here soon and we’ll be asking him some questions.”
Mr Strauss-Kahn was favourite to become the Socialist party’s presidential candidate before scandal and charges of sexual assault in New York two months ago.
Ms Aubry’s damning words came just one day after Michel Rocard, the former French prime minister branded Mr Strauss-Kahn “mentally ill” and “unable to control his sexual urges” in the most outspoken attack from a prominent Left-winger.
Fellow Socialist presidential candidate Arnaud Montebourg added: “He has apologised to members of the IMF and he should have done the same thing to the (French) Left and all Socialist voters.
“(When he returns), it will be necessary for him to make the same gesture,” he said.
Mr Strauss-Kahn’s return comes amid controversy over his supporters pledge to stage a “big (welcome home) party” with “drinks and a concert” in Sarcelles, the Paris suburb where he was mayor and deputy mayor from 1997 to 2007. Francois Pupponi , the current mayor, tried to quash the criticism. “He’s very popular around here but it’s not like Dominique has won the World Cup,” he said. “Nothing official has been organised for the moment.”
“DSK” still faces a civil lawsuit for damages in the US from chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo, 32, whose criminal case against him for attempted rape was quashed last week.
She has also launched a separate criminal complaint in Paris against Strauss-Kahn party workers in Sarcelles for allegedly seeking to bribe a French woman with whom he had a relationship 14 years ago not testify against him.
A preliminary investigation has also been launched in Paris after French writer Tristane Banon accused him of behaving like a “rutting chimpanzee” in an alleged rape attempt in 2003.
A recent poll also found that 53 per cent of French people want DSK to play no part in politics on his return to France. Another posted this week found that four out of five want him to stay out of the Socialists’ presidential campaign.